By Kevin O'Keefe

Newspapers becoming two-way conversation : Opportunity awaits blogging professionals

From Steve Rubel, the Washington Post is gearing up to launch a social network of its most passionate readers.

According to Colin Delany, WashingtonPost.com is implementing reader comments on all news stories. You can see a sampling here. They’re starting with less controversial topics and will expand to all stories once content filtering mechanisms are operational. The Post also allows you to request the removal of a comment that you find objectionable.

From there, the Post will encourage readers to create profile pages that aggregate all of his/her comments in a central place. This in essence turns the Post Web site into a social network for people who actively comment on the site.

No doubt this is the way newspapers are headed. Was talking with a Seattle Times reporter last week about blogs and ideas to increase reader interaction with the online edition. Told him about my home town paper, The La Crosse Tribune, allowing comments to each story. And even in an area like rural Wisconsin, users are taking to it in a big way. The paper is receiving a ton of comments.

For the paper, three big plusses. One, a closer bond between readers, reporters and editors. Two, can find out what gets readers most interest. And three, more people reading the paper offline generating increased online revenue to offset declining revenues in hard copy sales.

For users, especially professionals, two big plusses. One, an opportunity to get to know reporters and editors so you’ll be used as a resource on upcoming stories. And two, the ability to showcase your intellectual capital to the local community who’s reading the paper online.

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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