I had a nice chat tonight with Regan Senkarik, general manager of the San Jose Mercury News's website. I was surprised to hear from her that I'm in the minority with my beef about Knight Ridder sites' long lists of cryptic headlines. She told me that focus group data has shown that folks like lists of stories without a lot of extraneous info on their news sites.
But before I go into all of that, I want to deliver on an early promise of giving props to some of the cool stuff I've found on Knight Ridder sites.
Pretty much all of the papers have blogs. The best one, near as I could tell, was the Miami Herald. But that's kind of a no-brainer: Who else can claim Dave Berry on their in-house blogroll?
Closer to home, I've got to give some kudos to the Star. While I personally have issues with the KC Crime Scene blog (I think it's Satanic, frankly, but that's just me), I'm happy to see that it's building an audience (of people hooked on good old American fear), as its copious reader comment pages seem to indicate. More importantly, they've done a good job packaging it. It's smart to put it high on the page. And the headlines are intriguing enough to almost lure even me over to look at the page.
And now they've got this KC Buzz political thing starting up, and I'm totally stoked about that. So far the offerings seem a bit tame, which is to be expected. But I'm guessing the comment action will be pretty exciting. And for bloggers like me it'll provide a lot more fodder to riff on.
So it's no wonder that when I asked Senkarik what stuff has been working for them as they've experimented with new media she first said blogs.
Other than that, she didn't seem so sure. She said video offers some promise, but not a lot of Knight Ridder outlets have been working with it. She said the Star has been the front runner in that area, which I had already figured out on my earlier tour. The other site that appears to be experimenting with moving images is the Fort Worth paper.
But... I spent a little extra time checking out our local video offerings, and it looks like they've still got some work to do. I kknow this was supposed to be a nice post. But... The first video I clicked on was 20 seconds of commercial followed by five seconds of some dude pushing a broom near a highway wreck (I tried to find a link, but apparently someone their discovered this lame thing and mercifully yanked it). Then I clicked another link -- this one for some story about the Chiefs -- and I got... 20 seconds of commercial followed by five seconds of some dude pushing a broom.
Still, they're trying. And there are a heck of a lot of videos archived on their site. It's promising.