Saturday, May 24, 2008

Greetings, here comes my monthly post

Yikes, I can't believe how quickly time nips by. And yes I am embarrassed. Between the last time I posted here, I changed some job duties at my newspaper. I had been straddling print (managing and editing print reporters) and online (video, community blogs), but now I feel more focused in online. I am producing something called the Alaska Newsreader, online only, every weekday.

The schedule is a bit rigorous, but now that I have it down (just finished three weeks of it, and don't they say if you can do anything for three weeks, you can make it a habit?) The habit I had to create was getting up at 4 a.m. to get to work by 5 a.m. to produce an opinionated aggregation of news from around the state and around the world related to Alaska.

This is not my creation, I have inherited it, and I did so with much enthusiasm. I like the service it provides to readers. I like getting to itemize and comment on a topic and then provide links to the many different ways that various news outlets have handled it. So readers get different views on a topic of interest to them.

The Newsreader is almost always in the top five most visited pages on our Website. It also has right-side content that can change constantly -- a bit of a display image and definition that you can click through to the catalogued item. I will start gathering and publishing that material this week.

This is fun, if solitary. It feels like something I can get better and better at, making it more and more fun and useful for readers.

The other aspect of my work right now is creating adn.commons, an arena for community bloggers. We host their blogs for the purpose of gathering eyeballs on our site. The premise is people organize around their areas of interest, and if we can host that area of interest on our site, we've created community (and clicks) to adn.com.

In the image below, the blue pull down menu shows our staff blogs (at the top) followed by community blogs, starting about halfway down. I hope to pull these off into a separate index page so they are easier to locate and use.


I've started about 17 of them so far, everything from an Iraq war amputee headed to Walter Reed to get fitted for a prosthetic leg, to a locavore blog to a bride blog to a chef blog to a health policy blog.

I hope in a week or so to start up a citizen watchdog blog -- the folks who show up at community meetings and pay close attention on the local level to what public officials do. We have lots of significant local, state and national elections coming up, and at least on the local and state level, it will be valuable to get their perspective on campaigning and let readers compare their commentary alongside our staff reporting. Just another way to add a perspective.


And now, it's time take my dog out to Kincaid for a good, rainy day walk. Good for the soul.


video

Her name is Clare and she loves Kincaid Park as much as I do.