Thursday, 14 February 2008

Local newspapers, local information

Howard Owens article on a local paper in the Us being overshadowed by a small news aggregating, information resource shows the difficult situation local newspapers are in.

Howards' piece focuses on the Watertown Daily Times' dropping their pay wall which acted as a big barrier to competing with the local site that offers linked news and a local information resource.

There's only a real case for paid content in financial and niche interest content, as is shown by the current number of successful pay walls still standing.

My point would be that having a strong, up-to-date and relevant community database is vital to all local newspapers. most of the information should be kicking around the newsroom in some form.

Putting it together in an easy to navigate format for users will not only gain page impressions and increased audience, but enhance trust and relevance in the multi-platform publisher alongside their news output.

Linking within news stories

Responding to Paul Bradshaw's poser: when writing for the web do you think you should include links within an article, or leave it till afterwards?

Well I'm not sure there is a completely fail-safe right or wrong way?

Links within the story make logical sense, as adding them at the end may mean the read has forgotten their purpose or relativity.

Although linking at the end lets the reader read the story without distraction.

But if there are no links, then the stories become dead ends on the website, and that page becomes an exit page rather - BUT the external links take users away anyway?

On our site we add related internal links and useful documents in clearly spaced blocks either at a pertinent point near the top or the end of a story. But specific relevant links go within the flow.