Media Life Magazine has an article on papers struggling to create original content for the web, and deciding what technologies that want (and can) bring to the table.
The WashPost: “Our philosophy is that when a new thing comes out, and there’s a lot of buzz about it, let’s try it,” says Jim Brady, executive editor of Washingtonpost.com. “You have to try new things. Media is changing by the day.”
“Journalism on the web is a conversation. Why should we put a story on the web and have 50 blogs chattering about it, when we could host that conversation?” Brady says. “In the print world, the publication of the article is the last step in the process, and on the web it should be the first step.”
The SpokaneReview: At the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., that paper’s site now offers everything from a large-scale blogging effort to webcasts of the paper’s daily news meetings. The paper is hosting conversations on its 35 blogs and posting web-only content to supplement its print edition. Says Ken Sands, online publisher at the Spokesman-Review: “From the beginning we realized that putting the printed newspaper online was the least interesting, least important thing we could do.”
Sands says some of the simplest initiatives have proven the most effective. One is a MySpace page for the paper’s entertainment site that links to the MySpace pages of many local musicians. Another is weekly podcasts and music downloads featuring local bands.
In the end, Sands says the hardest – and most important – part is giving up control and pointing their readers outwards. Many reporters and editors have expressed hesistance at letting their readers escape, Sands said, but doing just that was the only sure way to keep them.