Online news: How to build sites that matter

Steve Yelvington : “But … the world is changing, and newspapers have handicapped
themselves by generally not paying enough attention to new Internet competition from Ebay, et al. Instead, they’re building sites that tend
to be derivative and duplicative of their print “parents,” whose product characteristics come from a dead century.

Newspapers need to be building timely, useful, interactive local sites that play to the strengths of the medium and reflect how real people use the Internet — especially real people who are under 35, who are increasingly deserting print.
Cutting and pasting yesterday’s news onto the Web won’t do the job.”
Steve is making some very good points.
As I become more involved–or reinvolved–in the online news world, I am reminded how some editors’ intense conservatism and resistance to changle is offset by the joyful experimentation and careful problem-solving of a few others.
Whether online news folks think its a good idea or not, audiences do not differentiate between Google news and their local news site’s AP news feed–what sets the local site apart, besides the brand, is the credible, community-news focus and the depth of coverage that wire services and national news desks do not attempt to duolicate. The SacBee site is able to cover the local arts scene in a way that Yahoo News or Google cannot–if what’s on the SacBee site is exactly what’s in the paper, the site will have value to those who don’t see the paper–but it will have even more value if it can offer some unique and distinct experiences–the SacBee Recall newsletter, for example, kept me wedded to in a way that few other thingd would have–Although I live outside their local area, the quality of coverage, the frequency of the touch, and the fact they had two interesting blogs grabbed my attention in a way that other recall sites failed to do.,