Have Online Newspapers Gotten it Right Yet?

Kirkville blog asked two years ago, "Why Haven't Online Newspapers Gotten it Right?" Quite frankly, I'm not sure they haven't. The issue is -- as Bill Clinton might say -- what the "it" is? Here are some possible goals for newspapers in print or on the web:
1. Disseminate news and opinion in a clear and timely manner
2. Make a profit through advertising or sales of content
3. Reshape society through promoting a political or social agenda
Number 1 will always be the overt aim; number 2 the constant struggle; and number 3 the topic we normally don't discuss.

Slashdot continued this debate with lively digressions on a variety of subjects such as why it still is so hard to format online content? Remember that Slashdot is a site for computer geeks who often have their own agendas. On the other hand, they are perhaps the heaviest consumers of Internet news.

I must admit that most of the news I read now is through aggregated feeds on Yahoo or Google or through other resources. The feeds lead me to the sources sites and from there I may venture futher in the newspaper itself.

I've been involved in web publishing since 1997 when I edited the Jewish Communications Network for a year. We were a successful boutique online magazine with a "borrowed" news feed -- links to the mainline news sources with some annotations.

For nearly two years I'm involved in a project that brings a fine community newspaper to the web - the Jewish Standard. We are keeping the site to the design simplicity that most of the experts praise. And each section of the paper has its own RSS feed -- anticipating the syndication that is inevitable in any successful venture of online publication.

Every day is a new and changing challenge in this fast-paced industry.

[slightly modified from original post of 12/28/05]

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