Converstation Starters

Online newspapers are finally finding their strides, despite the dire warnings about the Internet being the death of newspapers.  Many newspapers are realizing that the Web provides a unique opportunity to once again be the source for information.  For years Americans have drifted away from newspapers, but as more and more of us use the Web to find information and news — the online newspapers are really our most reliable sources of information.

The New York Times did a phenomenal makeover in 2006 and, for me, set the standard for online newspapers.  Not only did they find a way to bring the newspaper experience to the Web, but gave me a reason to register.  The features like having a personal clipping file actually provide value to the user and make me want to register.  My hometown Washington Post still insists that I register, but gives me nothing for it.

Newspapers are also realizing the power of the social Web revolution.  The comments on the NY Times are evocative and thoughtful, and have added a great deal of additional insight to many of the articles.  Now USA Today has joined the game and unveiled a host of new social features in the hopes of becoming the “nation’s conversation starter.”   I expect the conversation to be as diverse as the readership.

If newspapers begin rolling out special features to print or online-only subscribers they could easily develop new revenue streams and once again return to prominence in people hearts and minds.    I, of course, am still waiting for the digital ink revolution to provide me with my downloadable paper on my re-usable e-paper format.  *sigh* someday!

p.s. Speaking of redesigns — check out Wired’s new look.

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