John McCann

Newspaper as social network

In Citizen Journalism, Newspapers, social network on March 8, 2007 at 9:04 pm

I read several related articles and blog posts in the last few days that pertain to the changing nature of newspaper to become, as blogger Steve Rubel notes, a social network. He was referring to changes at, which are presented in an editorial in USA Today. These changes allow people to do the following:

•” See how readers are reacting to stories;
• Recommend stories and comments to other readers;
• Comment directly on stories;
• Participate in discussion forums;
• Write reviews (of movies, music and more);
• Contribute photos;”

These features seem to be a first-step in a transformation that Mark Glaser called for in a blog post on his Mediashift blog. Glaser asks his readers to imagine how newspapers can enter the new age, and then presents several future scenarios that contrasts today’s practices with what he believes they should start doing. Here are a couple of examples:

“The way it is: Editors assign stories to reporters.
The way it will be: The community helps with story generation through special online forums, blogs and other interactive mechanisms.

The way it is: Editors choose which letters to print in the Letters to the Editor section.
The way it will be: An online forum allows all letters to be posted in full.”

There are 19 such pairs in his blog post. A careful reading reveals that Glaser seems to have provided a script that is following. When I read his piece, I think of it as a guide for newspapers to enter the Participation Age.


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