Washington Post ends hyperlocal experiment

One of the most visible experiments in hyperlocal journalism came to an end Aug. 21 when The Washington Post shut down its LoudounExtra Web site. The site was designed for “Loudoun residents, organizations and businesses and feature community news, events and sports sometimes reported on by county residents and local bloggers,” according the The Loudoun Independent. Rob Curley, a key force behind the site, said on its launch in 2007 that “To us, LoudounExtra.com goes beyond the bells and whistles of community-publishing tools. It represents a real partnership with local residents.” However, Curley and most of his team moved to the Las Vegas Sun shortly after LoudounExtra launched, and it never gained traction with the community.

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Washington Post unveils new mobile site

The Washington Post goes mobileThe Wall Street Journal reports that The Washington Post has started a new mobile version of its Web site. The Journal notes that “Besides extending the Post’s core areas of coverage onto a new platform, the new mobile site is designed for maximum utility for locals, with customized information on things like public transportation, weather and entertainment. Post executives say ‘in the very near future’ the mobile site will let readers make restaurant reservations, buy movie tickets and get real-time traffic routes.” The site does not look like much on a computer screen, but works well on the much smaller real estate of an iPhone or BlackBerry.border

Reuter posts handbook of journalism online

The internationally known news service Reuters recently posted its Handbook of Journalism online. The handbook covers a range of topics, and is broken down into six main sections:

  • Standards and Values
  • Guide to Operations
  • General Style Guide
  • Sports Style Guide
  • Specialised Guidance
  • Links

(Thanks to Stacy Spaulding for the link!)

Washington Post combines print and digital operations

Long after many other news organizations had merged their print and online operations, The Washington Post finally made its first step in that direction in spring 2009. Howard Kurtz, Post media critic and host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, told inVocus in an e-mail interview:

We’re all accustomed to writing for the Web by now. But that is increasingly becoming more important than ever, and yet we want to preserve the time to report and craft stories for the next day’s paper….For years Post reporters joked about what was dubbed MLE, or Multiple Layers of Editing, and in a tough financial climate that’s something we no longer need, if we ever did.

Read the full story at the inVocus Media Blog; you’ll need to search for “Washington Post” to find this article.

Focusing on newspapers’ strengths

In “Newspapers’ essential strengths,” David Carr emphasizes how important reporters and real journalists are to a generation that is quickly allowing newspapers and journalism to slip. “Even as newspapers are being attenuated,” he writes, “they are still the source of most of the reporting horsepower out there.” Carr acknowledges that changes are needed in newspaper business practices, but adds:

Newspapers and other print publications need to think about how they finance their work differently as well. But as the gap in balance sheets grows, there will be a growing gap in the things that the public doesn’t know, but probably should.

Strategies for retaining older readers as newspapers move to digital-only editions

In “How to use the Web to prevent remaining print readers From fleeing,” Steve Outing warns that newspapers cannot forget older readers as they transition to a digital future. Among his suggestions for easing the transition are to create digital replica editions; to use the print edition to drive readers to special online-only content (including multimedia); and to use the print edition to “publish excerpts and URLs to content from other online sources.”

Detroit’s new era of accessible news using digital delivery

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are making changes and releasing news on the new technology of “e-reader” devices. Detroit will be the test market for news on the revolutionary reader produced by Plastic Logic and the new Kindle.

“We absolutely believe in the future of great newspapers, but we can no longer do business as usual,” said Dave Hunke, CEO of Detroit Media Partnership and Publisher of the Detroit Free Press. “These changes allow us to focus our resources on strengthening the content we provide readers instead of investing in paper, ink and fuel. They allow us to take a big step towards exciting new relationships with readers, subscribers and advertisers.”

To not leave behind less technologically-oriented senior citizens, DMP is introducing an outreach program that offers classes in basic computer use and expanding the copy sales at senior living communities.

“Our mission is to revolutionize the way people acquire, organize and consume information,” said Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta.

Leland Bassett and Tina Bassett of Detroit Media Partnership have the story, photos and videos.