Building Communities for Online News

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Information about Building Communities for Online News

Published on May 23, 2007

Author: mathowie



A presentation I gave at the National Writers Workshop in Wichita, KS on May 20, 2007

Building Online Communities Matthew Haughey

Everything is moving online, newspaper subscriptions fall

Writers, editors, and organizations need to adapt


This doesn’t seem right .

Give readers community features and they’ll flock

Follow these steps to build a successful community

Why community?

Newspapers are a fixture in the physical community

… but not in the online world

Small towns: easy to be the sole source of online info

Large towns: name recognition

Web communities get traffic


More traffic: more readers, and more revenue possibilities

Digg, reddit, gothamist, blogs

Users expect interactivity online

News doesn’t have to be one-way

Comfortable with customization

Tyranny of choice

How to build it?

Robust user systems

Incorporate into existing logins

Don’t do this.

Personality in member profiles

Welcome contributions

Highlight the best

Have writers interact as well

Elevate members to writers & photographers

Embrace the web

Hire web-savvy teams

No barriers to reading


Open the archives, perm. URLs


How do you maintain it?

Moderation that’s fair

Online moderator: full-time job

Online moderator: ombudsman?

Emotions out of decisions

Craft some guidelines

Guidelines, not rules

Deal with troublemakers quickly

Metrics help run a community

Flagging spreads the work out

Favorites/voting for the good

Case Studies






What’s stopping your organization from building a community of readers?

Everything is moving online, newspaper subscriptions fall

Add community features and grow your online audience

A collaborative news site can please readers and create revenue

Questions? [email_address]

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