I’d like to think of myself as someone who is friendly towards what us bloggers call “mainstream media” (or MSM), and I am certainly on good terms with writers from a number of different newspapers and magazines.
As a result, I sometimes am asked to check out new features or online areas on MSM web sites, so it was no surprise when Travis Henry of The Denver Post invited me to check out their new YourHub.com site.
The concept is certainly interesting: their plan is to feature the best of the community blog articles in an every-Thursday print supplement in both the Post and sister newspaper The Rocky Mountain News, offering considerable offline visibility for the best online writers.
But there’s a flaw in the entire YourHub concept, a flaw that I think is a complete show-stopper, but they believe is just something to get to, when they can…
The flaw? There’s no RSS feed, so there’s no way for me as a visitor to subscribe to YourHub news about my own community here in Colorado. There’s a fundamental disconnect here, because, like most modern Web surfers, I don’t want to go back to Web sites, I want to subscribe to their content and visit when something appears that’s sufficiently compelling.
So, offering Travis the benefit of the doubt, I asked him about the entire RSS situation:
“I’m interested, but here’s what I don’t see on the site: An “RSS” feed or other way I can subscribe to the local news. What’s the scoop?”
“We presently don’t have an RSS feed. We are working on it. Right now we are just a citizen’s journalist site where people post their news, events and photos. They publish automatically on the web and we use them for our print edition.”
Pop over and check out YourHub.com for a moment right now.
You can see, it’s a very well executed site and really has some potential, especially with the print tie-in, to become a popular attraction for citizen journalists seeking an opportunity to have their voice widely heard throughout Colorado and the Front Range.
But not quite yet.
Not until there’s a great RSS feed so those of us who are interested in consuming the information online, rather than in print, have convenient access.
Indeed, the fact that support for online readers, especially bloggers, has been pushed out while plans for the print mirror proceed as a core element demonstrates yet again that the bias for print over online remains within this media group, a bias that many believe dooms mainstream media to obsolescence as more and more people consume their news online.
I want YourHub to succeed. I like both newspapers, think they have excellent staff and cover our region well, but it’s a new world and it’s imperative that any media outlet that wants to stay afloat fully grasp the realities of the 21st Century. Print isn’t obsolete, but online consumption is new, and it’s critical to the success of any venture.
Now the ball’s in the Posts’ court. Travis, let’s see how fast your team can add nice RSS feeds so I can subscribe to the Boulder YourHub.com channel and thereby be motivated to contribute my own citizen journalist articles to your site.
I was a photojournalist at The Spokesman-Review for four years before leaving the profession back in the late 90s. One of the reasons I left was because the newspaper refused to let me publish my out-takes on my website. I got tired of waiting for them to “get it,” and I’m glad I didn’t wait around if this is any example of how far newspapers have come. The attitude you encountered was typical of my experience. Perhaps not unrelated is the fact that here in Seattle, the PI lost 9 percent of its circulation last quarter, and the Times lost nearly 7 percent.
I agree! I wish YourHub had an RSS feed. Seems to me that RSS feeds are to web life what Tivo is to TV watching. Once you have used RSS/Tivo you just can’t go back to the old way.
One idea for bloggers who are looking to increase blog traffic using YourHub – submit a blogger profile. I did that this week with the Lakewood edition and they printed it in the print section of the paper. Not sure yet if it worked, but at least it was free and easy – and it surely can’t hurt.