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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« Interlude: The Cleveland Kerfuffle | Main | Cooking the Books »

November 13, 2007

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Comments

Charles Barthold

Last week I attended the Media and Money conference and came away pretty unimpressed with what mainstream media is doing in this area. (http://www.mediaandmoneyconference.com/)

Several panel leaders pointed out how Google (even though it doesn't consider itself a media company) is changing how we access information, which is what news is. Michael Wolff pointed out that no one in that room could be hired by Google today.

I was also struck by how many speakers/panelists didn't use Facebook, MySpace, etc. and based their impression on what their kids have told them.

Finally - if local newspapers want to thrive they should think about wikis. This is part of crowdsourcing. Think of all the commodities in your town (gas, milk, etc.) and track prices. But let the readers do it, not you.

Joshua Hatch

So, in part two you gently chide the idea of newspaper Web sites offering video with the aside, "We've now got blogs and podcasts and video! Oh my!" But here in part three you say, "Newspaper sites should be aggressively adding video every which way they can."

Help me understand your position. And what evidence do you have that readers really want all this video? Or is it a business decision to get more ads on a page? Curious as to your video rationale.

Mark

Video is essential; my point is that it's not enough. You have to have a full array of Web 2,0 features.

Rocky

Some great ideas here, Mark.

Newspapers really need to learn to become a part of the whole Web ecosystem, instead of islands in it.

This includes things like being search accessible, tearing down registration walls, encouraging sharing and conversation with and among readers, and leveraging new technologies for distribution and presentation.

One thing that bloggers have mastered quickly is that sharing and linking out ends up being a net positive.

Your readers might also be interested in a couple of posts I wrote on the topic:
http://blog.agrawals.org/2007/01/03/adapting-online-newspapers-to-a-searchweb-20-world/
http://blog.agrawals.org/2006/10/09/keeping-online-newspapers-relevant/

Roch101

Man, I think you've got it! I'm bookmarking this post as a most excellent guide.

Donna

Thank you for this series. Your analysis is the most intelligent discussion I have read on what ails the newspaper industry. And I've read a lot.

Why can't local news sites be the go-to place for everything? Email, updates on friends and colleagues, event reminders, a local version of ebay (especially useful for items too expensive to ship), a local version of Consumer Reports, a place to gather for support and information? In other words, a virtual town square and backyard fence.

I agree that editors' fear of reader interaction is a problem at most papers. However, the New York Times gets it right. Frequently I'll email a Times story to someone with the note: "Be sure to read the comments." The May 8, 2007 NY Times story on student loan debt was illuminating, but the 403 reader comments that followed were astounding.

But someone at the Times moderates comments. Who would bother to read even the first 10 comments if spammers and trolls were allowed unlimited access? Not me.

Overmoderating is equally lethal. Articulate, thoughtful writers will go elsewhere if they believe their comments will be censored or ignored.

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