Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005
A recipe for newspaper survival in the Internet Age (Slashdot)  
Great article from Slashdot by Roblimo.

He explains why newspapers need to focus on driving readership of their websites, and on how they can do this by encouraging reader participation/community. He argues that a key method of accomplishing this is enabling comments. This seems like a good idea, but I'm struck by how the comments sections on even serious newspapers like the Guardian descend into flamewars. Roblimo's solution is moderation a la Slashdot. This wouldn't totally remove the problem - imagine partisan moderation of a right/left-winger's posts by left/right-wingers - but it would help.

He says that keyword-based ads are touted as the key to gaining revenue from the site.

He says that newspapers should use classified advertising to build local online communities, as a counter to the Craigslists of this world. They also need to be aware of how easy it is to start specialist online publications - easier than for "even a highly-qualified outsider to get his or her work into a local paper." They should focus on local news - readers can get their international news from a huge range of well-resourced international providers. This makes sense to me. I don't read our local daily paper. I get my national and international news from national and international sources, and my local news from the quirkier, more human free weekly papers. They should also involve their readers as contributors - even paying them for submitting good stories.

He says that text won't go away - people read faster than they listen, so reading a summary of a meeting is a lot quicker than watching a video of it.

Great article. Reading the comments now.


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