Friday, March 14, 2008

More On Newspapers

This post at Publishing 2.0 echoes my earlier diatribe about newspapers, particularly the New York Times, and web publishing.

The post talks about the different ways in which primarily web-native news aggregators' home pages appear: TechCrunch displays the day's constantly updating stories in reverse chronological order, like a blog, and Digg displays them either in chronological order or in order of popularity. The post hails these as digitally integrated and useful formats. The Times*, on the other hand, echoes its print format in many ways. Indeed, much of the page stays static through the course of a day, unless something huge happens. The article links the page's static-ness with its way of arranging articles: by "importance." Because somebody decides once a day that this article or headline is important, it lives on the homepage until tomorrow.

I'm right with this post's call for traditional journalism to really get more web-integrated.

But I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Out goes static boredom (I too have stopped checking the NYT site more than once a day, while I check others frequently--bad news for the Times**). But why must we throw editorially-deemed importance out with it?

I use NYT's "most emailed" list heavily, but I like the homepage too, because there people I trust ("editors") tell me what to read. I don't have time to read the whole paper; I like that they pick stories for me *in addition to* the most-emailed ones. I think editors add value to my content consumption, and I don't want to lose that value.

In other words, I feel like the Times might actually be doing it right in trying to find a combination of these models--including both their printish front page and what Publishing 2.0 calls their "blog ghetto" at the lower-right corner of the page. It's just a matter, now, of finding the right amount of each.

*Yes, I know I italicize the NYT and leave the others in Roman. It's deliberate. I don't know what it means yet, but it does signal the changing ways in which we think about citing different kinds of material, no?

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