In mainstream newspapers, The Washington Post seems to have done the best job I’ve seen of creating mini-communities, in chats with columnists (although I’m not sure how well that’s extended to the news sections).
Gene Weingarten’s and Carolyn Hax’s chats seem to bring back many of the same people over and over, as do the Reliable Source columnist chats. There are mini-communities there, and the chats create relationships with the writers in a way that, say, the “Ask the Newsroom” sessions with New York Times staffers don’t. The Times blogs are starting to have more of a give-and-take feel, depending on how often the writer responds to reader comments.
Hey Kristin — yes, I agree that WP and NYT are making good inroads here. The Post has an admirably deep roster of reporters and writers who understand the conversational tone of online writing and seem to genuinely enjoy a give-and-take readers, and the Times is conducting an enormous number of interesting experiments, including social media.
What I’d really love to see is local and regional papers doing the same thing. I think they have simultaneously the most to gain and potentially everything to lose.
Thanks for stopping by!
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Web veteran Jason Fry explores the challenges faced by newspapers in the digital world.