Online News Sites

News Sites Repeat Mistakes Of the Past by Steve Outing: An excellent article on what’s wrong with news sites and what they need to do (via Arun Katiyar). Here’s an extract:

Online news managers need to look deeper. Look at what others in the online community space are doing. They’re not hard to find. Look at, or the newer Kuro5hin, both online communities where the users control the experience. Kuro5hin is designed to be the antithesis of the typical news organization. Its users come together in an online community and select the content they want to publish, comment on it, and debate. It’s a debating society melded with a news publication.

Kuro5hin founder Rusty Foster (who is a programmer, not a journalist) told an audience recently at the USC Online Journalism Conference, “Traditional media needs to get this.” What they need to get is the concept that it’s good to invite readers into your community, and develop online tools to serve that community — to facilitate the building and maintenance of communities of interest.

One of Foster’s ideas that I really like is the notion of building communities of interest (lots of them) around reporters and columnists. Get journalists to go beyond fielding e-mails and participating in discussion forums. Encourage them to use software tools to build an online community where they are at the center, surrounded by readers, fans, and critics who react to what’s been written, suggest new ideas, and even correct the journalist.

This is one thing I’d love to see. People like Louise Kehoe of FT, Walter Mossberg and Rebecca Buckman from WSJ, Peter Lewis from Fortune can become the hubs around which online communities can be built. These are the strengths, the assets of the news sites. They need to set hiding their crown jewels.

In recent months, one of the changes I have seen in our own consumption of news is that I visit weblogs as often, if not more, than the traditional news sites.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.