17 aprilie 2008

Are Romanian newspaper site as interactive as they could be? English Version v 2.0


Upsy, seems I did it again. Now I've noticed that Manafu points out that the first news site to have a twitter feed is Cotidianu

I have read about Joanna Geary's study on Online Journalism Blog. The features analyzed there are part of the new wave of online instruments/tools, email alerts, social networks, podcasts, webcasts, RSS, newsletters, with a special note for Twitter, a service that gains more and more terrain, and has made everyone ask themselves if this is not the future of online news.

I have noticed that during the last two years, more and more Romanian news sites have begun adopting a lot of the above mentioned interactive features, incorporating them into their framework, or building a new site from scratch. Nevertheless, I cannot see the use in that, beside endless rants and frustrated comments, trolling and preserving prejudice. Their forums are dull, to say no more, when they are not used as a battle ground in publicly displaying various intellectual [political/cultural] frustrations.

Source Joanna Geary

At least, that's how I see it, as an outsider. Therefore, I am in much need for such a study, specifically applied for the Romanian mass-media. Is there anyone willing to apply?

Well, if there is no one else, I should volunteer ... thus

I have entered the BRAT site, selected the daily newspapers, the raw printing figures and the period from November 2007 - December 2007, du to the fact, that at least from what I could think of, there were no other public data available. I chose total average for the selected period for the visualization option. The result was the table below, showing, the major Romanian newspapers based on the reported print numbers. My option went for reported print numbers because I was unable to make any connection between the newspaper site and the number of sales or subscriptions. I would be grateful for any other suggestions. I think that the ones that buy or subscribe, may or may not enter the site, as well as the ones that enter the site, may never buy the newspaper. Let's say it is a paper muscle top.

Name Raw print numbers Source
Libertatea 320584 declaratie de difuzare
Click 133499 declaratie de difuzare
CANCAN 107888 declaratie de difuzare
Gazeta Sporturilor 101314 declaratie de difuzare
Jurnalul National 99453 declaratie de difuzare
PRO Sport 92245 declaratie de difuzare
Evenimentul Zilei 77079 declaratie de difuzare
Romania Libera 70857 declaratie de difuzare
Gandul 49624 declaratie de difuzare
Adevarul 41862 declaratie de difuzare
Cotidianul 40274 declaratie de difuzare
Ziua 26634 declaratie de difuzare

I have looked for the following features [19]:

Reporter's article on blogs
External links
Most popular
Synchronous chat
Article comments
Blog article comments
Advertised RSS
RSS feed sections
Email newsletter
Social networks
Video content

and after searching each site I have come up with the following graphic conclusion

I would like to make some preliminary notes. Except for Gazeta Sporturilor, no other site offered some level of interactivity with the users. Gazeta has My Sport. Gandul has a similar offer, but it seems rather limited, thus I have excluded it. For Ziua, I was unable to fully understand how they operate their so-called blog section. If Twitter did not come as a surprise, well, the lack of it, RSS feed section looks like an option that has been ignored. Talking about RSS, I have noticed the total lack of advertising within feeds.

Another thing I found it noticeable was the absence of any bookmark tools. Guess it comes in the same package with no social network options. Most of the newspapers still rely on the heavy use of IM/Yahoo Messenger as a way of promoting the articles, a feature that I did not notice to be used in the same degree on other foreign news sites. The blogs, if they are, are limited to internal links, toward other colleagues from the newspaper, with no other external links. Except for Cotidianu, I have considered the link for Ioan T. Morar as external, despite the fact that retrospectively I do not find it fair-play, being the fact that they belong to the same news group.

Most of the sites rely on the number of hits for valuating the most popular /quantitative and not on some sort of user based rankings /qualitative. Video content is scarce. Maybe I will try to gather all these observations in another post, in detail.

I do not think that what I have done here can be used as a reference [think I've made enough mistakes, I am still waiting for recommendation, advice, corrections], but is rather a plea for other more competent people to create a relevant study. If I could do it, without any qualifications, I think a more pertinent opinion from the inside could be useful.

The table used can be downloaded from here.

I have filled my reader with more than enough feeds once again, and my head hurts.

PS. Hope you could endure my poor English, thank you for your patience, if you come up this far.