I used to like reading Simon Waldman's blog for that reason, but I've noticed he's moved to a new system and put a redirect on his old archives so you get a fleeting glimpse of the old "work stuff" that he says he's got bored writing about before being passed straight to his new site. Bit of a tease, really. He might have become bored with it - frankly, I don't know how he found the time to write that much anyway - but it was an interesting insight into the thinking of a senior new media guy. His explanation is that "What started out as exploration and half-baked ideas in the blogosphere have now become standard fodder for every media exec in town".
Oh well, fair enough.
Anyway, I was in Moscow in early June for the WEF sessions which, to be honest, had some of what Waldman would have hated, but a lot of other very interesting stuff around current strategies for newspapers online.
Here are some tidbits:
- Search engine referrals to the Nytimes.com have increased 71 per cent in the last 12 months. SEO is a major tactical play for them, according to GM Vivan Schiller. She was cagey about the execution, not surprisingly.
- Traffic to Nytimes.com has increased from 16 million UVs a month to 25 million UVs a month over the last 12-18 months. They put this down to their page redesign, a new video player, better organisation of print and online newsrooms allowing more responsive publishing, and better integration and treatment of verticals - travel, entertainment, real estate etc. They've reorganised the reporting structure on the site and appointed John Landman, former metro editor, as overall boss. The NYT.com editor now reports to him and this has allowed better communications and relations between print and online.
- Both Nytimes.com and Washingpost.com are introducing personalisation. Nytimes.com in the next month, washingtonpost.com in the next couple of months. There were no details on cost. It's taken about a year to set up and they've (NYT.com) been running a limited trial for the last few months. The launch will be in beta form, a first for them. It's fully based on their rss feeds, and the expected benefit is wholly around extending time spent on the site.
- A big difference between the two sites is that the Nytimes.com don't really care about UGC, whereas it's a big focus for washingtonpost.com. According to Vivian Schiller: "The web is increasingly filled with a lot of user generated content - there's certainly nothing wrong with that - but often that user generated content is unfiltered and it's uninformed". Washingtonpost.com, on the other hand, is looking closely at Web 2.0 strategies.
- Vorarlberger Medienhaus (Austria) has been successfully experimenting with reverse publishing wire news headlines in its regional papers. The logic is that the newspaper is a perfect browsing mechanism and the web provides the depth. So they run (sometimes) hundred of headlines in dedicated sections of their world pages with pointers to the web for the full story. for local news they encourage readers to generate story ideas for the paper through the web site.
They are selling more newspapers and getting more traffic to the web site as a result. And they say the timeliness issue is no more a concern than running full wire copy in the paper already is, but because they save space by compressing to headlines they then have more room for reader generated stories and local issues.
- Canada's Globe and Mail web site has had a 30 per cent increase in UVs since it added a comment function on the bottom of each article.
- Yahoo! news currently has no way of verifying authenticity of user generated content. The BBC is trying, but theirs is a very manual process. Steve Hermann e-i-c of News interactive at the BBC spoke about how they are doing this.
- The Norwegian paper Dagbladet gets 1.6 million UVs a week from a population of less than 5 million (helluva reach). They attribute this success to their portal strategy (visually illustrated in presentation).