About Me

  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies. You can read more about me here.

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« Short and Sweet, Please | Main | Not One For the Books »

March 05, 2007

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» Earth To USAToday: Adding Social Features Does Not Fix The Ugly from Springtime
It seems to me that in a meeting at USAToday's offices, someone told them that making the site look and feel better was somewhat mutually exclusive from offering social features, so they chose "social and really ugly" over "not social but more visually... [Read More]

Comments

gzino

Mark - my uninformed take is that their content is too broad, shallow, objective, ephemeral, etc. to build strong communities around...even if they get the design right eventually. Your thoughts?

Mark Potts

That's an interesting point. But USAToday.com has a significant following as a national news site—even though its content is fairly generic. Presumably, that audience has opinions about that content and will choose to express them on the new site, through comments, rating posts, etc. Yahoo News, which is similarly generic, gets a fair amount of comments and story ratings, so I don't see why USAToday.com won't.

gzino

thanks - good point on Yahoo - don't go there myself so will take a look. Imagine their demographic is a bit more favorable though. USA Today will be interesting to follow - at least they are changing with the times, as you pointed out.

Mary Specht

I do like how they display user comments at the end of every article. This seems like a blatantly obvious thing to do--what blog doesn't do it?--but other big sites--washingtonpost.com, nytimes.com, wsj.com--downplay user comments (except on their blogs). At least usatoday.com is taking this obvious--and important--step.

obo

Mary, USAT is actually behind Gannett's smaller papers in showing comments with the stories. They are, though, pretty close with them in crappy interfaces and aesthetics.

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