The interactif unit of France’s Le Monde newspaper has launched a bold Web 2.0 experiment, LePost.fr, that turns the newspaper inside-out. Separate from the flagship paper and its LeMonde.fr website, LePost.fr is offers a mixed, continuous flow of news from both reader-contributors and staff reporters. In true Web 2.0 shades of pink and blue, the left half of the page is home to a reverse-chronological, blog-like mix of stories (authors “Betty Scoop” and “cecile50” rub shoulders with Agence France Presse). Users can elect to read only particular topics or posters, create a personal profile, join groups and organise information using tags.
There are echoes here of the soon-to-be defunct, Digg-like Netscape.com front page and of AOL’s decision this summer to make AOL News look more like a blog. It’s also reminscent of the efforts USAToday.com and MyTelegraph have made to bring a degree of social blogging and commenting to readers. But where the French offering differs from those last two is that LePost.fr resembles a newspaper in no way at all. Le Monde reports (via Editors’ Weblog): “LePost.fr is a specific product, developed autonomously, with no link to the paper Le Monde.” Le Monde Interactif has clearly decided it’s easier to retain the younger audience by urging them to forget all about the newspaper and instead roll out a truly native web publication.