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Publishing in a Many-to-Many Online Word . The Gilbane Conference San Francisco April 11, 2007. Moderator is the new role model. Today’s Agenda. About the Union-Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego.com Many-to-many techniques for publishers Problems and challenges A new role for publishers.

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Publishing in a many to many online word l.jpg
Publishing in a Many-to-Many Online Word

The Gilbane Conference

San Francisco

April 11, 2007

Moderator is the new role model


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Today’s Agenda

  • About the Union-Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego.com

  • Many-to-many techniques for publishers

  • Problems and challenges

  • A new role for publishers


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San Diego’s Leading Local News Site

  • Updated 24x7

  • Focused on breaking local news

  • Partnership with print newsroom

  • Staff of 70 for sales, content, operations

  • Email, wireless & multimedia content

Typical mix of local, national news


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Growing Commitment to Multimedia

  • Online and print staff shoot video

  • Averaging one local video clip daily

  • Frequent use of audio slide shows

  • New all-local Internet radio station

  • Goal: beat local TV

Yvette De La Garza on location



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Web Sites with Largest Local Audiences

Local Web Site Audiences

  • SignOn ranks 13th, but San Diego is only the 27th DMA

  • Online reach is 32%, versus 49% for print

  • Site adds 11 points to combined reach

  • Challenge ahead: build daily, repeat traffic

Source: The Media Audit


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Solid Economic Model, But Still Tied To Print

  • Large, growing audience

  • Profitable since 2002

  • 15% growth in 2006

  • 50%+ margin

  • Revenue tied to print under pressure

  • Most growth coming from direct online sales

Fast food promoted by email


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Many-to-Many Techniques for Publishers

  • Reader comments

  • Guest Weblogs with reader comments

  • Reader-created multimedia

  • Wikis

  • A good, old-fashioned human touch

Forums with 2.4 million posts


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Reader Comments in Many forms

  • Gated communities: Traditional BBS formats

  • Hyde Park Corner: comments with articles

  • Advice: user reviews and ratings

  • Reader cataloging: photos, audio, video

Comments as front-page news


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Publishers Must Encourage Give and Take

  • Pay attention and nurture discussion

  • Register participants, but keep in simple

  • Rely on ‘common carrier’ legal protection

  • Understand that you can’t control this

Padres forum on opening day


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Weblogs are Niche Publications with Feedback

  • Blogs give voice to a niche or community

  • Readers can follow on with comments

  • A discussion hosted by the publisher

  • A ‘super’ thread among all discussions

Blogging from Chula Vista, Calif.


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User-Generated Images, Audio & Video

  • Photo galleries

  • Video galleries

  • Internet radio

  • Publishers gain content and context

  • No organization can field a staff this big

A day in the life of San Diego


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Wikis Go Mainstream

  • The next step after simple comments

  • Let experts among readers contribute

  • Publishers gain a breadth of new content

  • Readers help shape the product

Prototype indie music wiki


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Wikis Challenge Many Publishers

  • A major step beyond comments and photos

  • Assumes the gestalt of publishing

  • ‘You Tube’ had similar affect on TV

  • Potentially the most powerful technique

Wikis can be conprehensive


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Don’t Forget the Human Touch

  • Sometimes the best conversation is in person

  • Communication is not necessarily conversation

  • Hire top-notch customer service staff

  • Read email and take calls

A person in the loop


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Noise Amid the Many-to-Many Conversation

  • Libel, slander & bad taste are problems

  • Readers can get too much of a good thing

  • It’s hard for people to find what they want

  • Sometimes publishers must take charge

A community becomes crowded


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Envisioning a Long-term Strategy

  • Publishers nurture conversations to build new audiences

  • Professional values still count…

  • …but publishers must relinquish some control

  • We’re moderators now

Publishers must reach out


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