Saturday, February 03, 2007

In which expertise becomes readership

Kathleen McCoy offers an intriguing proposal for colleagues back in Alaska: why not take your expertise on all things salmon and turn that into a destination web stop?

Her basic logic – to make "newspapers and their Web sites into a 'place' for people to gather and discuss, rather than the pretense at a 'finished' version of an ongoing science story" – obviously could be broadly applied. She imagines ways in which newspaper staff expertise would combine with experts and interested audiences to create a continuing conversation that would remain useful and vital long after any individual news story fades from view.

The Tri-City Herald's Kennewick Man site, available here, offers a robust illustration. How successful have they been in creating a resource based in news but transcending daily journalism? Well, if you Google "Kennewick Man," the Herald's website is the top result.

Kathleen's suggestion:

So what if the Anchorage Daily News created a Web page attached to its news site that was all we, and experts we approached, could deliver on salmon. The passionate could "drill down" as far as they wanted into scientific papers and data and documents. It would include a forum for interested parties. It would be dynamic, not a snapshot version of an ongoing story.

Salmon as a topic makes sense for Alaska, it is iconic for us. We have the only healthy wild runs on the planet. Who else do you know brews beer and names it after salmon?

Any other examples amongst McClatchy websites? Any interest?

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