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Summary:

Newspapers’ tough times appear to have spurred the industry to adopt the kind of social media habits that have led so many readers away from…

Newspapers’ tough times appear to have spurred the industry to adopt the kind of social media habits that have led so many readers away from the traditional news format. In The Bivings Group’s annual look at how newspapers use the internet, the researcher found that 58 percent of dailies offered some form of user-generated content this past year. That’s more than double the 24 percent of papers that had user-gen features in 2007. Other finding’s from Bivings’ report (PDF):

– The number of papers who opened up stories to user comments also more than doubled in the last year to 75 percent in 2007 versus just 33 percent the year before.

– Newspapers are still a little slow on other ordinary aspects of social media. For example, just 10 percent of newspapers had social networking tools, such as user profiles and the ability to

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  1. I guess newspapers are now discovering the power of social media and web 2.0. The central characteristic of "Web 2.0" is conversations and interactions.
    These days news stories published in small blogs attracts much more visitors than a visitors to same story on a reputed newspaper website due to power of social media.

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  2. Newspapers enabling comments is great… but how many of those reporters and editors are interacting with the commenters?

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  3. @Ari, have you seen our Comments blog? (latimes . com/comments)

    The blog's tagline is: "Because sometimes comments are the best part…"

    and our editor's often highlight excerpts from the blog on the homepage of LATimes . com. Increasingly, reader comments and feedback are being highlighted on A2 of the print edition of the Los Angeles Times.

    All our reporters' email addresses appear in the footer of each story, in print and online, and we strive to give readers as many feedback channels as possible (see latimes . com/contactus + latimes . com/staff), so each individual can communicate with us however they prefer.

    Granted, not all of our reporters and editors respond to every reader comment, but our Readers Representative office has a full-time staff dedicated to listening to and addressing reader feedback. Check out their Readers' Representative Journal at latimes . com/readersrep .

    We still moderate every single reader comment that appears on our websites, which is why we only selectively add comment/message boards to topics where readers demand them or editors decide they are warranted.

    We'd love to hear more feedback and pointers here from readers here about other major media outlets that are doing a good job of incorporating readers' perspectives into their coverage and digital presence.

    Sincerely,
    - Andrew, LA Times social + emerging media guy

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