Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BostonNOW: Direct to the Web

I pick up BostonNOW everyday. I made the big switch from the Metro to BostonNOW about six months ago and it was solely because BostonNOW has a better crossword puzzle. Never underestimate the power of the crossword because now I'm a loyal BostonNOW reader when I hop on the train.

BostonNOW isn't anything mind blowing, but I do admire their persistence in trying to make the commuter paper into a strong web presence. Every brief and article, unless it's a wire story, has a link that you can go to. The link brings you to the story online and allows you to comment on the story. I'm not sure how well this will work. I read BostonNOW as a quick read if I don't have time to read a major newspaper, catch the news or hop online before I leave my apartment. This rarely ever happens and I have usually scanned NYTimes.com, Boston.com and/or CNN.com before I even get out of my pajamas. But the effort is commendable and I really like what they are trying to do.

The paper is also pushing for citizen journalism in more ways than just through comment boards. BostonNOW is looking for citizen journalists that can write about various topics that the paper is trying to cover and the paper would pay them for their services. I’m not sure how much you can really call this citizen journalism, I guess it depends on the way it is presented and written, but it seems kind of like a freelance position with a new age title to me. The paper's website also features online polls, cell phone access and downloadable copies of the paper.

BostonNOW is still relatively new so I think there effort to bring readers to website is excellent. And if there is a lesson to all small newspapers in this somewhere, maybe it’s to feature a great crossword, you never know how you will bring in a new reader.

1 comment:

Dan Kennedy said...

Your post demonstrates that when a paper isn't very good, like Metro or BostonNOW, people will choose for other reasons, like crossword puzzles. BostonNOW has had an aggressive Web strategy since its debut, but I'm afraid the paper just isn't good enough for anyone to care all that much. Maybe that will change.