There’s a new service in the North Country online news environment that you will likely be hearing about from a number of different sources, called North Country Daily. Despite the name, it is not a new daily newspaper that covers all or part of the region (though it can act as one). Instead, it is the outward face of a collaboration between a number of daily news providers in the region, specifically, between the Watertown Daily Times, WPTZ-TV, and North Country Public Radio. We hope to add additional partners as the project moves ahead.
To my knowledge, this is the first collaborative effort among North Country journalists that includes both for-profit and public media, as well as combining print, radio and television journalism. It is an experiment, if you will, in marshaling resources to better serve the public in a time of rapid flux and financial challenge facing all media.
At NCPR, we have long noticed that our news visitors come to our site in three main ways: 1) directly, through the front door, because we are on their beat as a trusted source, 2) via search engine–locating an article of ours that matches the terms of their search, and 3) via referral from some other site that has provided a link to something we have published. This three-legged stool pattern holds true for news providers everywhere.
It’s the third leg of the stool that North Country Daily is designed to serve. News aggregation sites drive a lot of traffic to the websites of all the partners in this collaboration. That’s a good thing, and we are grateful to them for pointing toward our work. But North Country Daily is a news aggregation site with this important difference–what is aggregated there is selected by the partner publishers to represent the best, most important stories they are publishing that day. These curated stories top the page in a photo-rich “slider.” Below that is a feed of stories from the partners, as well as from other daily regional news sources, ordered by time of publication–so the freshest news from any source rises to the top.
It is intended to be a first stop on the news beat for a resident of the region, one where they can get a broad overview of all the stories from all the daily news providers. It is specifically designed for the news consumer who wants a lot of information all in one place, and doesn’t have the time or inclination to just browse around a bunch of unconnected news sites. It is clean and easy to read, not carrying advertising or other extraneous matter, and it is constructed to work as well on a small phone screen or a tablet as it does on the desktop or laptop. In short, it’s a nice, useful bit of work, oriented toward the needs of a news-hungry visitor.
Give North Country Daily a look and tell us what you think. There is also a companion Facebook page, for those who prefer to get their news via a social network. “Like” the page, and stories from all three partners will begin to flow into your Facebook newsfeed.