Monday, March 22, 2010

Mirror in the mirror

A large proportion of the readers here will know this already, but for those who have given up on the main stream media for political news...  and I know that is true for some folks...  the PG had launched its new Early Returns 2.0 web page for local, or locally connected, politics.  So not an advertisement, judge for yourself.  And no, it's not because they actually are highlighting their blog role in the top left and yup.... it self-references back to here.. So its like the picture of a person looking in a mirror, in a mirror, in a mirror.

That NullSpace highlight is temporary over there and they are going to rotate that I am sure.  Probably mostly starting with me because Bram has given up the ghost and you need to start somewhere.  I am probably a safer post than others which might be more insightful, but possibly more inciteful.   So boring R us.

But what is much more interesting is whether it all will work. Newspaper folks have been working to crack the code of how to survivie in this new media world.  PG has their pay side going at PG+.   NYT has announced it will be moving back to a pay model as well for some of it's content.  This new political site is free to all and it will be interesting to see if it works.  Could it become more of a website of reference for all things political?  Maybe, we will see.  They certainly have started with an uber-prolific day of news not otherwise covered.  Granted I think history may have cooperated a bit to help out.

I suggested they could have some microblogs linked in focusing in on specific topics, or more likely specific races.  Maybe in the future.   Right now they have what a Yard Signs forum section which I guess anyone can comment on anything.  Could it become the forum of record in town?  Possibly.  Though right now you need to register yet another way in order to post something.  Probably why does not have a first poster as yet... At least we know the PG folks don't plant comments out there.   But registering is a big impediment I figure.  Maybe openid or something could work. 

Now what the PG folks need to do is to do the same thing with their transportation coverage.  Boring you think?  Well, a lot more people drive to work than vote let me tell you that.  Hell, a lot more people drive to work than even know who their local mayor is. I kid you not.  One new idea down at the PG is the traffic blog, roundabouts...  which is a good in concept, though awfully underutilized.  I bet there is an order of magnitude more content floating around the PG newsroom on local transit/transportation/congestion/parking issues that could fill there.  So maybe they should skip right to Roundabouts 2.0 have make up a web page collecting both content and references the same way.   Think Jon Schmitz is cursing me right about now?

Though I have to add...  it does have a news snippet today my maglev news filter didnt catch yet.   Looks like the folks in Las Vegas have given up on building a maglev on their own.   Hmm.


Anonymous RoboticGhost said...

It seems to me that the PG does a lousy job promoting these things. Early Returns 2.0 would be a nice resource for the PG's many daily visitors whom are probably by and large unaware that Pittsburgh has a blogosphere; as well providing ER coverage, which I personally find edifying more often than not. It would be a worthy bookmark for many. And yet I didn't know about the makeover until it was posted here. I went back a minute ago and had to hunt around to find the link on the main page. They could learn a lesson or two from Huffpo about self promotion and driving eyeballs.

If they could create a series of forums that could take advantage of their best-in-class existing traffic and turn it into something that has people refreshing threads while they argue about #hcr or Big Ben, they could go to advertisers with an attractive package. It's not that hard to figure out what sorts of things Pittsburghers and expats like to talk about. I'd like to see a comparison of hit counts and repetitive loads between where threads approaching 200 comments are not uncommon, and the PG.

I don't want to sound too critical of the PG here, but if they don't do something to engage user generated content to drive ad revenue and find other ways of making money from people looking at smartphones, iPads, Android-capable microwave ovens and so on, they're going to sink. I will be subscribing to the NYT, as will many others, but I doubt that model will work for the PG. Maybe the technology fairy will invent a workable micropayment system and save the day one quarter of a penny a click at a time. I hear rumors that Google and others are working on such.

OpenID is a good idea. Lots of people already have one and enabling the Ban hammer in a big public forum is a good idea. I do wonder what a Null Space troll would look like? "Your mamma's Industrial percentage of the the regional GDP shrank .25% in October..."

Monday, March 22, 2010 6:58:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

The commenting culture at is kind of interesting, especially in comparision to almost any venue here. Never have quite figured out what that means, or doesn't mean.

I also agree on the exposure. I am uber aware of the new ER2 site yet it seems a bit hard to find already on its debut.

The whole anonymity question is intriguing and there is also Mackenzie's article recently. It would be pretty near impossible for me to do this without full disclosure. There really is a lot less anonymity then people think for anyone. The 'anonymous' blogs of blogosphere's past have not really been that big an unknown which is kind of a story in itself. For another day.

Monday, March 22, 2010 9:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've alluded in the past to "anonymous" posting not being so anonymous. So just as a test, send me an email if you know it's me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 8:51:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Anon, I know who you are and I can prove it. At some point today, you'll get an e-mail offering misspelled medications for ED.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:31:00 AM  

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