Listening Post: One-stop news shop

ncdaily_scr_600There’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.

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6 Comments on “Listening Post: One-stop news shop”

  1. Gary says:

    I just checked it out and I think the idea is great. I normally check the news in the morning by going to four north country web sites. Now it’s all in one site. I’ll be sure to share this with friends.

  2. Gary says:

    One suggestion. Five of the first seven stories deal with sports. Should sports be a part of the news? If so should they be listed under a separate heading at the bottom?

  3. Dale Hobson says:

    Hi Gary–

    This is an example of where “new” can get in the way of “important.” I see that you were writing at 6:48 am. The Watertown Daily Times published their sports stories for the day all at 6 am. If you look around 10 am on most weekdays, you will see NCPR stories dominating the top of the feed, because that is when we are finishing publishing stories from the morning news program. Other times of , different sources and topics will dominate the top chronologically. That’s one reason we wanted to top the page with a curated “top stories” slider.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR

  4. Peter Klein says:

    Seems to be directed at the northern tier.

  5. Belle says:

    Hats off to you gals/guys: In an ever-changing (and challenging) news environment, you evolve to keep listeners engaged, always seem to be looking toward the future. It’s GOT to be a major headache trying to stay ahead of the curve (or maneuver within it). That you’ve partnered with other news sources is wonderful for all involved, IMHO.

    Keep up the good work, sleep well!

  6. Phoebe says:

    I subsribe to the NY Times Headlines and find this format familiar and easy to work with. I do wish you had just a bit more text with each story, but that may say more about my laziness. All in all, it’s a good idea, especiallt since it’s local.

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