December 10, 2007

Connecting Newspapers to Community with Topix: Lowell Sun Steps Up

by tolles at 3:34 PM


We've gone live with several publications as part of our recent deal to provide forum technology to Media News Group. There has been some pretty good coverage of the deal - along with some questions about whether we're facilitating "outsourcing" community, from some quarters.

So, with that in mind, I was particularly pleased to see this article on the Lowell Sun Online:

Should hunting in the forest be banned? Readers speak out

This was one of our first integrations of a Media News Group newspaper - and this is a great example of the paper referencing the commentary to better connect to their communities, in this case a story about the people who commented on an article regarding local hunting. The initial article that generated the response can be found here, and the entire issue, which has been covered very well on the Sun, can be tracked with this search on Topix ('natch).

The Lowell Sun has been live with Topix commentary for a few weeks at most, so it's great to see them tapping into local voices, and providing some great additional coverage of the issue. The reverse publishing of some of the selected commentary is a particularly powerful way to boot up better engagement

On the other end of the scale, the Chicago Tribune's public editor Tim McNulty demonstartes that they're keeping tabs on what's going on within the commentary on the Chicago Tribune via a funny incident with "Ho ho ho" and our profanity filter. Also, some healthy debate about commentary seemed to find its way onto the comments around this article. (Tip of the hat to Scott Anderson for pointing this out).

Getting a high quality, web scale commentary system as a key part of your community play -- with a partner that will backstop your editors and give you a set of powerful tools to help boot up community in your area is something we think will add a lot of value to a newspaper, and a great first step in helping publications start putting some product meat to the desire to get community plugged into the news site.

And, we're not done yet, either. We think there's huge potential to do a lot more for local newspapers.

More news on that later.