Mashup: Newspaper prints online comments

Newspapers may be a threatened species, but I have seen many signs of a whole new business model emerging.

The Arizona Republic, whose online self is at AZCentral.com is a fine blend of print and online. It has begun to print readers comments, a section called ‘photos by you,’ a thumbnail of a video with the keyword (for searching), and a quote culled from a blogger at AZCentral.com. All this appeared in last Saturday’s paper.

It goes beyond just displaying these. The headline of a section featuring 10 comments about a map for a soon to be implemented Light Rail sums up the comments with the headline “Light-rail map rated mostly a thumbs-up.” (There were actually 43 online comments by Saturday.) The thumbs up reference was about an icon letting online readers approve or disapprove a comment.

A hybrid news system is surely in the making. In Europe several newspapers have embraced the print and online mashup, with where reader contributions are news. The survival of the business model like OhMyNews, which has 3,000 ‘reporters’ in over 100 countries, bodes well for a different kind of news delivery.

As the Newspaper Association of America puts it, “The revolution will be downloaded.” And for those of us who may not want to download the days news and commentary on an iPhone or sip it through an RSS reader, it may be blended with the digital version, printed and delivered to our doorstep too.

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