Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Techies take on newspapers and newspapers take on blogs

Sarrah Phuong pointed out an interesting article from USA Today on what techies would do if they owned a newspaper. Of course, they would make it all digital, and they would allow users to interact with the news more.

"The media brands that will be successful will open their content to the masses and participate heavily with everyone else, including their competitors," Hot or Not's Hong says. "I would do everything I could do to embrace the new world rather than fight tooth and nail to protect my old business models."

Local newspapers would want to assimilate and link to local bloggers and get readers to network with each other through topic areas — like fans of the local minor league baseball team or musicians involved in the local scene. Add Digg-style ratings so readers can rate stories and move them to the front page. "Make it personal — you can see that now with The New York Times," Miller says. The Times and some other newspaper sites have a feature that lets people rearrange the website to their liking.

The digital generation "wants to customize everything — what news they receive, how they receive it," says author Don Tapscott, whose books include Growing Up Digital. "They increasingly want to not only read the news but write and produce the news. Media companies need to think of themselves as community builders, not just content providers."

As for going aggressively local, Jones says, newspapers need to do way more. In his newspaper, he says, "There would be local emphasis on restaurants, classes, events, things to do, including pictures and videos. Think YouTube, but with a local orientation, of every school soccer game, art festival, church picnic or black-tie affair."
That is what we need. Quality news that is easy to access, organize and comment on. Plus a way that users can create their own content to share with others. Is that too much to ask?

Ryan Sholin pointed out an article from the American Journalism Review on how professional newspapers are turning to blogs and some of the questions and concerns that blogs raise.
Newspapers' current passion for blogging is fueling a vigorous, industry-wide debate about everything from staffing to sourcing, standards to liability. There's an inevitable clash of values between a newspaper, which has a journalistic reputation and brand name to protect, and a swiftly changing medium that has grown in power and prestige precisely because it has flouted many of journalism's traditional rules.
There are a lot of concerns that need to be addressed, and maybe some papers have gone overboard (a bowling blog is okay, but from a newspaper?), but blogging is here to stay and journalists need to learn how to use them effectively.

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