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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Survey Suggests Top Newspapers Are Beginning to Get it on Internet, Blogs, Other Tools

Four out of five of the top 100 circulation daily newspapers allow their reporters to have blogs and 63 of those blogs allow readers to react and post comments on posts by the authoring reporters, according to a survey by The Bivings Report.

Other results of the survey included the fact 76 of the 100 dailies have RSS feeds, though none included feeds of display or classified advertising, and video is the most common form of multi-media use on the papers' web sites.

Also, only 19 of the papers web sites allow readers to comment on news articles and only a third of the top 100 offer podcasts from their sites. A mere seven offered a bookmarking function.

There is much more to the survey, so to read it in its entirety, go here.

I am surprised that so many of the top dailies allow their reporters to blog on the papers' web sites and that so many allow readers to comment. The biggest concern among many MSM editors about blogs is what they view as a lack of editorial control or verification on content.

And with blogs authored by reporters, editors worry that their charges will give ammunition to critics who claim bias in the paper's news reports. There is also worry about the increased opportunity for a potentially libelous statement to be published.

Here's how the Bivings people assessed the role of blogs in these newspapers:

"In addition, it is interesting to note that in our research, blogs were just as common in the ten
most circulated newspapers as they were in the bottom ten newspapers. Nine papers in both the top 10 and bottom 10 categories included reporter blogs on their websites.

"Because of the growing popularity of blogs, offering reporter blogs is a key component of a
newspaper’s online strategy. Especially among the generations of younger adults, Web users
come to expect interactivity from websites.

"Thus, omitting reporter blogs from their websites would be a costly mistake on the part of newspapers."

What would be really interesting to know is how the editors of the papers that now allow their reporters to blog view the experience before and after and what value they see having been added to their publications as a result.

HT: Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine