We’ve been out of the blog game for a while - working like mad dogs - but this post by Barry Parr at MediaSavvy struck as some of the most clear and rational thinking we’ve seen on participatory journalism in a while. As Barry notes, “..the blogosphere has evolved into a sophisticated network that online publishers should emulate and build upon.” Here’s his recipe for online newspapers:
• RSS feeds put your headlines on readers’ desktops, especially the most influential 1% of Web users—the people who can drive traffic to your site. Don’t worry that you can’t control it or measure it. Trust people to find you.
• Comments let your reader participate directly in the reporting process, amplifying, correcting, and just blowing off steam. Letters to the editor and separate bulletin boards now seem absurd.
• Archives should no longer be in a separate database. Your Web site should be your archives, which should be free and open to anyone who wants to read or link to your news. Why shouldn’t readers be able to search your archives using Google? Think before you answer that question.
• Trackback points to people who point to you, creating context for every news story you publish, and giving back traffic to people who are pointing their readers to you.
• Your community should be the focus of your site. And you should be integrating your site with bloggers and other sites in your community.
We’ve been working on a few long-form articles, one about archives/registration and one about why comments matter, that echo many of Barry’s points. Hopefully we can find some gaps in our Summer frenzy to finish them.