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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January 24, 2009


Michael Becker

My local paper offers an electronic edition of itself through a shoddy third-party system that doesn't work a third of the time. (Really, it's just an overworked and over-complicated in-browser PDF viewer.)

My wife works in circulation at the paper and tells me that the paper doesn't make any money off of those subscriptions, yet they require a couple of hours of work per night -- and often that hard work is botched when the pages are shipped off to the service providers for processing (oh, those providers are located out of state, by the way).

Do they have a nice Web site? No. Have they invested a lot of money in a system that doesn't provide a lot of benefit to its readers? Yes. Will they see the inequity there? Doubtful.


I operate a small news site for Sedona, AZ at www.Sedona.biz. Our challenge is to monetize the site with monthly uniques of only about 20K.

In Nov 2007 we began emailing a weekly newsletter to our subscriber base: a summary of the week's news. People love to get it in their inbox and I highly recommend it for publishers because it's another opportunity to embed advertising.

Anyway, for the first 6 months we issued a PDF newsletter because we thought our readers would like a "newspaper" version that they could print out at their computers and read at their leisure.
PROBLEM: No one printed it out. Too much of a hassle and cost according to our survey. Also a lot of work for us to put together. ANOTHER PROBLEM: since people were trying to read the PDF online, we needed to create a whole host of navigation links to make it easy to jump around. And what about embedding video? Back then Adobe hadn't created that feature.

SOLUTION: We now send out our newsletter with a list of links to all the week's stories on our website. No one misses the PDF.

Craig McGinty

>> SOLUTION: We now send out our newsletter with a list of links to all the week's stories on our website. No one misses the PDF. <<

Not enough publishers take this simple step.

Many sites would most probably see a 25 per cent increase in page views if they spent five or ten minutes doing this once a week.

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