Interesting Newspaper Experiments

There are lots of them going on now: too many to recount here really. But the WashingtonPost’s LoudonExtra, targeting suburban Washington DC’s Loundon County, is one example of a community site built under a separate brand. (Express is another targeting a younger demographic.)

LoudonExtra’s content (and other local sites if developed) could be linked to from the WashingtonPost site, as well as have their own identity. But this question of whether to rebuild the newspaper site or launch new destinations off brand is increasingly relevant as newspapers plot a course forward under extreme pressure. The newspaper brands, while valuable and trusted also don’t resonate across the board with all audiences, especially regarding certain kinds of topics/verticals. (The same is true for yellow pages.)

While I once saw the newspaper site as the thing that had to be totally reconstructed (and still needs to be redesigned to make it more user friendly), I now believe the “politics” involved in a radical overhaul make it unfeasible, which is why these “off brand” experiments are interesting. Metromix is another high-profile example (from Tribune Co.)

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Related: AT&T-Yahoo! Startpage a Model for Newspapers and PaidContent reports on EW Scripps’ acquisition of recipe site Recipezaaar.

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3 Responses to “Interesting Newspaper Experiments”

  1. Tim Stevens Says:

    Loudoun.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks for the catch

  3. earlpearl Says:

    I live in the DC region and am biased toward the Washington Post. It has historically been a terrific paper, institution, and treated its employees better than most for decades.

    It seems to be holding up better than some newspapers in fighting inroads from the web…but as with all newspapers seems to be in a losing war.

    I wonder how much time, effort, money, and resources the post sites spend on optimizing the bejeebers out of their sites to always be seen at the top of search engines for all queries…and how effective they are at responding to queries with pages and information that reflects as best as possible the intent of the inquiry. That is what the engines themselves do. I wish them luck.

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