For journos and webheads: Growing Your News Website

February 20, 2008

Last week I learned that the Watertown (NY) Daily Times, despite putting all its content online for free, is losing out to a competitor, NewZJunky.com. Howard Owens, awesome blogger and journalist, wrote “Never before have I seen a newspaper.com get trounced in its own market by any competitor — not even a TV station. NewsJunky.com has twice the traffic, and is growing faster, than the local daily’s news site.” [Source] And this is despite the fact that all NewZJunky has is a terrible (really) layout, and links to obits, public records, the police blotter, etc. So, if this is the future of journalism on the Internet, count me out. Ugh.

Enter Growing Your News Website, a blog launched last week by Steve Outing (media pioneer and E&P columnist). The idea is that every day, Steve or a guest blogger will post one tip–not news, but tips that can be implemented–for making money or increasing traffic on a news web site.

I’ve already added it to my blogroll. Wouldn’t it be great if this site took off?

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3 Responses to “For journos and webheads: Growing Your News Website”

  1. Howard Owens Says:

    Hey, thanks for the link.

    Point of clarification — WDT went free only very recently. Being a paid site for a number of years is what gave NJ a foothold in the market. I doubt NJ could have succeeded in its present incarnation had WDT been a free site.

    When you strip away the ugly design and bad usability, the core values of NJ are good pointer toward growing audience — hyperlocal content, aggregation of all news sources, reader submissions (participation) — are all tools news sites looking to grow audience should emulate.

    Knowing Steve, and having read him for more than a decade, I doubt he’d disagree.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Gotcha–thanks for the clarification. So the WDT was behind a pay wall and recently took down both the pay and registration walls? (I just clicked around for a few minutes and wasn’t asked to register, so I assume everything’s FREEfree now, not just “give us your demographics” free.)

    So the tragedy in this story is one of hindsight–IF ONLY they’d done things differently. Alas, I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more stories like this in the future.

  3. Vox Says:

    I will so be passing this on. Thanks!


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