I gave a presentation earlier today at the New Communications Forum conference in Santa Rosa, CA on how well traditional media (newspapers and magazines) are adapting their Internet programs based on the challenges presented by the web and social media.

During my talk, I reviewed the results of our newspaper and magazine studies that examined the Web 2.0 features these media properties include on their websites.  I also reviewed examples of some of the cooler things media organizations are doing on the web. 

When giving these presentations, you try to force yourself to reach some sort of coherent conclusion.  In the case of my presentation, I have to try to answer this question: “What will newspaper and magazine websites look like in five  years?”  The truth is that I don’t know and I don’t really think anyone does. 

Our studies tell the story of an industry in transition.   

Some bigger properties, like the Washington Post and New York Times, have the budgets and commitment from management to experiment.  They launch new web programs and cut the ones that don’t work and keep the ones that do.  Some smaller papers, presumably unencumbered by layers of bureaucracy, are also experimenting and doing great things.   Other publications are suffering from institutional inertia and not doing much of anything.  Web-based companies like Digg and Techmeme are breaking their own ground.

What newspapers websites look like in five years will be the story of these various experiments.

For those of you that are gluttons for punishment, my presentation is embedded below.  As you’ll see, in the future I should probably take help from our design team.  Notes regarding some of the slides are embedded beneath the slide deck.


Slide 10 – This is a screen grab from Blog Runner, a Techmeme-style site run by the New York Times.

Slide 13 – This is a shot from the Washington Posts’s On Faith, a micro-site devoted to discussions and video interviews about religion.

Slide 15 – Newsvine does a great job of dynamically building topic-specific web pages using tags.  The screen grab in this slide is of the Obama tag

Slide 16 – A page similar to that in #15 from Daylife.

Slide 20 – This is a screengrab from All Things Digital, the WSJ run blog that covers technology news.

Slide 28 – Here we have a link to an info graphic on the New York Times website that shows box office trends by month for the last twenty years.  Good example of a publication using interactivity as a way to highlight archive content.

Slide 30 – A screen grab of the Politico’s Speak to Power feature, where users can submit editorials that can get published in the print edition.

Slide 31 – The Politico also has a feature called You Report, where they ask readers to submit their own newspaper stories.

Slide 32 – Here we have CNN’s IReport, where the network encourages visitors to submit and discover videos, photos, etc. of breaking news.  Many of the content submitted here ends up on air.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.