By Scott Westerman
Congrats to my favorite Internet nerd, Rob Curley on the launch of LoudonExtra.com, the hyper local subsite of The Washington Post. In this story, the publication explains itself and it’s mission. In many ways, it’s similar to Rob’s other successes with the Lawrence Journal World and the Naples Daily News; ultra local and database driven with tons of searchable resources that maximize the newspaper’s core competency, local content creation.
I’ve been a Rob Curley fan for sometime and visited his NDN operation at the height of his involvement there. He has a knack for attracting a dedicated, talented group of evangelists who love going beyond the edge of the envelope. Why not cover little league the way USA Today covers the Major League Baseball? Why not develop the largest and most comprehensive databases on everything from nightlife to real estate? Why not multi-purpose your news staff to create a 15 minute videocast for the local cable company, along with versions for every conceivable portable video device? Why not set up a menu of text message services that offer everything from in-game sports scores to electronic coupons that you redeem by showing the advertiser the message on your cell phone screen? These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg that is Rob Curley’s creative brain.
Where Rob gets it right and the Albuquerque Journal gets it wrong is in the definition of subscription. The ABQ paper requires a subscription to the dead-tree edition to get access to the web stuff. Sure you can test drive with regularity if you are willing to endure a 30 second video commercial before entering, but come on guys, 30 seconds is an eternity for us ADD multi-taskers. Try to link to an article and you get bounced to the sign-in page. Who in their right mind would link to this from Twitter or Facebook?
Attention Editor/Publisher: Open up and augment your content for the web audience. Put more information in the web edition than the limits of your printed page allow. Leverage the web’s biggest strength, collaboration and instant feedback. And learn how to sell the thing. Rob explains it all in his ground breaking presentation to the Interactive Media Association. The piece is over two years old but is still as enlightening now as it was when I first saw it.
We get the Albuquerque Journal at the office, but I rarely read it. Make it free on line, make it available in a cell phone version, database the heck out of it, update your content on the fly and develop a Twitter feed that fires the latest stuff to my googletalk IM screen.. and then maybe you’ll get a bit of my short attention span.