The home pages at NYTimes.com and WSJ.com have a few new elements today. At NYTimes.com, the site is finally opening its Times Extra feature in beta. The feature includes links to other news sites and blogs alongside the newspaper site’s own content. NYTimes.com readers can choose to view the “regular” unaggregated page by hitting the “Switch Back” button if they don’t want to mix outside content. The paper lined up Shell as the feature’s launch sponsor.
What the NYT is doing with Times Extra is simply expanding the newspaper site’s existing aggregation feature which is handled by Blogrunner, out of its pen within the site’s Technology section. Nevertheless, it’s a big step for the NYT and represents the evolution of its approach to content. Similar ideas are catching on lately at other papers in the face of staffing reductions and other cuts, as evidenced with this week’s agreement between McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) Company newspapers and the Christian Science Monitor to share foreign news reports. Release
— Ads make the front page at WSJ: Meanwhile, beginning today, the WSJ print version will offer “cover wraps” to advertisers. While tabloids like the NY Post and NY Daily News have sold these kinds of print ad overlays, this is the first time the WSJ has given its front page over to advertisers, AdAge points out. The inaugural advertiser is Dell Computers, whose promotion covers one-third of the front page and the paper’s entire back. Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer at WSJ parent Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS), tried to suggest that the policy change wasn’t just reflective of the new ethos since Rupert Murdoch took over this past year, comparing the introduction of cover wraps to the creation of new editions like the Weekend Journal and sections like Personal Journal.