Monthly Archives: March 2007

From Iceland to Boston

     A publisher from Iceland is starting a free newspaper in Boston with a heavy dose of user-generated content. Writers can sign up for blogs, photographers can sign up on a designated photo-sharing service, people who shoot video will be invited to contribute, too. If it follows the plans being discussed so far, all this will bubble up from the cyber world and the editors of the print publication will harvest the best stuff each day for the fiber product. A Google news search turns up nothing, but a blog search turns up many postings. For example, the top managers are running a blogspot blog about the project, where this post says (in part): "BostonNOW wants to encourage active participation in our online and
print community, so interested contributors will only need to follow a
few steps to be considered for the print publication. As soon as the
BostonNOW website ( goes live (scheduled for Monday,
April 16; the day before our first paper is published), you would
create a BostonNOW account."

Are they testing a new Nokia camera phone? This post shows the view from the BostonNow office.

Steve Garfield at Off On A Tangent blogs about a meetup: "I went to a meeting tonight about the new free paper that’s launching in Boston
soon called BostonNow. In this
picture, Editor-in-Chief John Wilpers is talking to bloggers about how they can
contribute to the paper. We had a far ranging discussion with lots of ideas
shared from everyone."

Newspaper Innovation has some details: "The paper is financed by Icelandic media company Dagsbrun. Russel
Pergament, former publisher of the Boston Metro and Am New York is
running the operation. He is also CEO of the American branch of
Dagsbrun, called 365 Media USA, which has plans for free dailies in
other US cities as well. Chief editor is John Wilpers (Washington
Examiner, Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and Boston Metro). Wilpers to
PBS: “I was the editor that took it [Boston Metro] from about 150,000
readers to 500,000″."


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Filed under Business models, Crowd sourcing, Hyper-local, User-generated content

Content and value

Bambi Francisco of MarketWatch has the investor take on the new media business strategies,
including this: "One new business model is in the economics of sourcing content
and talent. At least for now, new sources of content can be bought cheaply —
meaning free. At some point, however, the 1% of those who create the majority of
the content that’s retaining an audience will demand some form of incentive."
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Filed under Business models

Meetings are content, text version

The editors of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane post a blog about the news meetings, with a tone of candid informality. Here’s a sample:

"We scrambled on an A1 centerpiece yesterday and ended up moving Mike Prager’s daylight saving time story
forward a day; it was originally scheduled to run Saturday. Now we’re
scrambling for Saturday. Such is the news biz. But Prager had a
delightful turn of phrase in his story, calling the hoo-haw over
potential electronic meltdowns from daylight-saving time "Y2Kaylight."

Once again our Sports department pulled off something of a miracle, getting a nice package on the Cougs beating the Huskies on their cover, despite the late ending of that game.

Becky Kramer turned a routine earnings story on Coldwater Creek into a forward-looking piece. But it didn’t answer the burning question: why doesn’t Coldwater Creek have a store in Spokane?"

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Filed under Weblogs

News meeting is content, video version

In Spokane, the news meeting is content. Twice a day, the Spokesman-Review editors gather and discuss the day’s news and what they plan to do on line and in print. It’s all on streaming video and there is a handy dandy guide to what’s what in the room for anyone who wants more information. The editor, Steven A. Smith, did this Q &A with Poynter. Excerpt:
"Will anyone actually watch? We have the technology, but we don’t always have the
drama. Will our competitors gain an advantage? Will our staff be as open in
public as in private? If the experiment does not further our goals, does not
help us do our jobs more effectively, we’ll stop. The technology is being used
for many other purposes so the modest investment is not wasted."

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Filed under Video

From America East, Nora Paul

Good examples courtesy of Nora Paul, from the Institute for New Media Studies in Minnesota. If the old model is a journalist explaining something, digital allows newsrooms — commands newsrooms — to help readers experience a story. One example Nora noted is this MSNBC report on baggage security at airports. It’s a two-minute interactive visual test of your abilities. Suddenly, you are the baggage screener. As I looked for it today, I couldn’t call it up on a search at but a Google search called up the Digg posting on it. As cool as it is, it should be linked from more MSNBC security and travel coverage, including from this great page of travel links and tips.
Other ideas — and maybe someone is doing them: how a new electronic voting booth works.
Another example, also from Nora, The Seattle Times "balance the budget" game. They call it Ax and Tax. Some very cool extras with that, as you try, for example, to cut teacher salaries. The institute has collected plenty of other examples. These two and seven others of the same genre are posted here.

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The need for programmers

Mark Glaser writes for PBS about steps newsrooms are taking to hire programmers, not just traditional journalists. In the Glaser piece, he includes a list of tasks one programer checked off at The News-Tribune in Tacoma, WA.

"In his time as an intern last summer and as a full-time hire since January,
Ritchey has accomplished the following tasks for the

> Built an interactive
of all the
free Wi-Fi spots in the South Sound area near Tacoma, which users can update
with spots the newspaper missed.

> Created a survey generator so that reporters or bloggers can poll
readers, something the restaurant blogger has utilized.

> Created a searchable database and interactive map for a Northwest Hiking
that lets
people search for hikes according to difficulty, elevation gain, destination and
round-trip distance.

> Built online databases so people can input and search vital statistics
in the community such as births, deaths, marriages and news

> Created a “Wire Cleaner” application so the print newspaper staff can
input sports box scores from wire copy without having to spend hours
reformatting it."

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Filed under Web/Tech

Video examples

Three papers, The Miami Herald and The Wilmington News Tribune, produce daily TV-style video news reports. The daily feature from Miami uses high production values and a zippier, more youthful presentation with two anchors and five news updates. Notice the story frame has banner ads. Wilmington has an AM and PM newscast, with video ads and banner ads in the story frame. The Wilmington report more closely resembles a local TV news report. The Roanoke Times calls its report TimesCast, and it launches every weekday at 3:30 PM. A sponsor report starts each cast.

In Florida, The Naples News presents a menu of video selections. Viewing one sample (prep basketball report) opens a new window with a well-produced report on a single story. No obvious ad support. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, with its TV partner News 6, has a similar menu of video stories, each introduced with a short sponsor reference. Roanoke, in addition to the TimesCast, has video reports, with a simpler story presentation, also with ads in the story frame.

It’s harder to pull together something about the resources or training each of these newsrooms devoted to make this happen.

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Filed under Video