Our recent post, 9 Ways to Improve Newspaper websites, has received a great deal of blogger response in the pastnpaper.gif few weeks.  TBR's most popular post of all time, "9 Ways" was linked to by over 120 blogs, according to Technorati.  Below is a roundup of some of the most insightful responses to our suggestions for newspaper website improvements.

Adrian Holovaty:

“So much of what local journalists collect day-to-day is structured information: the type of information that can be sliced-and-diced, in an automated fashion, by computers. Yet the information gets distilled into a big blob of text — a newspaper story — that has no chance of being repurposed.”

Memory and Desire:

“Pictures usually get better play in print than they do on online newspaper sites — and with good reason too. Who wants to wait interminably for pictures to download? But newspapers that can deliver graphics, audio, video fast are bound to attract more readers. I hardly watch television. But I like to see Reuters TV on The Times website.”


“One way to summarize a lot of these pieces of advice is ‘be a bit more like a blog and a bit less like a newspaper’. Make it easy to get to particular stories; distribute your content freely; be a part of the blogosphere. On the face of it, it makes sense. Blogs are successful, right? So why not follow their pattern. I genuinely believe that a lot of these suggestions would improve newspapers’ online services. On the other hand, though, I’m not sure many of them are really addressing the fundamental problems faced by papers.

Not that many blogs make big money, and even those that do retain very few staff. Editorial costs on newspapers, though, remain massive, online or offline. The reason for this is that it takes a long time and lots of resources to produce news stories. Bloggers don’t face this issue because comment, as they say, is free. And the papers can’t skimp too much on these costs. If newspapers don’t remain the best source for news, become just another site, then they lose more readers and advertisers. The rest of the blogosphere has suddenly got nothing to write about but itself.”

Web 2.0 Newspapers:

“I realize papers need to have a consistent "look and feel" to their online arm, one that complements that of their print edition, but just as pop music fans expect more from a live show than just the album repeated on stage, newspaper readers want goodies. Getting back to the idea of opening up archives, I wholly agree and think newspaper sites would be savvy to invest resources in doing this.”

Jonathan Williams:

“The Bivings Report provides a solid list of ways for newspapers to improve their web sites. Looking over it, I can't help but lament those items that are dependant upon code-driven  improvements, which can be next to impossible to implement at all but the largest papers. Smaller organizations rarely employ programmers, and getting permission to hire one so that the paper can "start using tags" is difficult when no one else in the building knows what tagging is…More than ten years after public adoption of the Web, most newspaper sites still don't reflect the fact that web sites aren't made of paper. Until newspaper executives realize this, such lists will remain rueful pipe dreams for the generation of hybrid readers who naively (though rightfully) expect the best of both worlds from professional news organizations.”