Archives » August 30th, 2006

August 30, 2006

9 Ways

9 (actually 10) Ways for Newspapers to Improve Their Websites:

  1. Start Using Tags
  2. Provide Full Text RSS Feeds
  3. Work with External “Social” Websites
  4. Link to Relevant Blog Entries
  5. Get Rid of All Registration
  6. Partner with Local Bloggers
  7. Offer Alternative Views of Your Content
  8. Modernize Your Site’s Graphic Design
  9. Learn from Craigslist
  10. Make your content work on cell phones and PDAs

I’d even add #11: Flip the relationship of the paper to the website. I went in-depth on this before, but it basically involves publishing stories to the web first, then making the morning paper a print version of the website, rather than the website being an electronic version of the paper. In this day and age, there’s no reason to “hold stories” until “press time”.

Also I’d add #12: Focus More on Local News.

Placeblogging is Not Journalism

Lisa Williams on placeblogging, and how it’s not trying to be Journalism:

As a placeblogger myself, I don’t look at the site I run and judge it based on whether I think it would be a good newspaper. Placeblogs are about the lived experience of a place, and if we are fortunate to live in a place that isn’t riven by war, famine, or crime, most of that experience isn’t news. One of my favorite illustrations of this is a post that appeared on the community website that I’m the host of. A blogger kept hearing a beeping noise coming from a local elementary school. He wrote, “Does anyone else hear the beeping, or am I crazy?”

Now, it’s hard not to look at an item like this one and not either consider it cute, or sneer at it. After all, if it appeared in newsprint (“Man hears disturbing noise, calls on neighbors to investigate”) it would be pretty embarrassing.
But blogs aren’t newspapers. Cherrypicking the items out of blogs that are pleasing to a journalistic mindset, or sneering at the ones that aren’t, doesn’t bring us any closer to understanding them.

What’s important to understand is that to a placeblogger, such an entry isn’t filler, or fluff: it’s precisely why the placeblog exists – that is, to connect people to each other and to reduce, even a tiny bit, the black-box aspect of our daily life, where we see and hear things and never really find out what’s going on. We’re looking for a connection, with each other and with the world we encounter when we step outside our front door.

She’s trying to find 1,000 placeblogs in the U.S., and she’s halfway there!