About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 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 and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Learning the Wrong Lessons | Main | Show Me The Money! »

August 26, 2007




I wrote a post a while back about how to make the most of search engine traffic that might be of interest to your readers:

If someone is coming to your news site from a search engines, you know what their intent was. If they did a search for "iraq war", you can skew the links to other stories about the war.

The other big thing I'd love to see news outlets work on is showing me updates to a story. A lot of links are from blogs and such. For example, take a look at this story:

Since I linked to it from my blog, they've written three more stories on the topic updating it. But there isn't an easy way to identify those.

Mark Potts

Rocky: That's really a terrific, simple idea about search terms--I wonder why more sites don't capture that search info and act on it. It's another simple way of auto-generating relevant horizontal content navigation. And I'd love to be able to track an ongoing--but obscure--story for updates. There are some crude ways to do that in Google News trackers and with RSS, but all news sites should give readers the ability to follow a story if they want.


Re: showing updates to stories.

Great idea!

First, the newspapers would have to make the effort to get updates on stories.

Unless it is a sensational story, they just publish the initial criminal charge or claims in the lawsuit, say that the defendant, or his lawyer, wasn't "immediately available for comment" ...and that's it.

If the person or company turns out to be innocent, too bad. The charges are in the newspaper archive and on Google forever.


This may sound cheap, but I'm just starting up a site and I'd love to be able to do this to keep readers within my e-publication longer. Are there any free referrer tools that work within websites? I've been searching but all I see are tools for tracking referrals to your site...

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