HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Open-mic journalism: How The Arizona Republic found success with storytelling events
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 24, 2009, 5:45 p.m.

AnnArbor.com: A new look for local news

Picking up the pieces a day after the 174-year-old daily Ann Arbor News published its final edition, its online successor AnnArbor.com was launched today. To the credit of its editors and designers, it’s a brand new approach to online daily news, featuring a blog-style chronological presentation of news items that can be accessed via a variety of topical and neighborhood headings.

Interspersed with the news are “deals”: labeled, differentiated posts by advertisers that lead to advertiser pages on the site spelling out the deals and providing links, directions and contact information. There’s a good measure of social functionality: stories as well as ads allow “votes;” staff credits have social network-style photo icons (as do registered users); staff is jumping into some of the comment threads; content is richly tagged; registered users can start “conversations” and share content via a variety of social platforms.  The site has a clean, up-to-date design.  At first glance, photos are a bit sparse, but where you find them, both photos and videos have a nice large format.

There’s a  tutorial video that seems at points to almost assume the user needs an introduction to how Web sites works, but does point out the kinds of things that make the site different.

On Thursdays and Sundays, AnnArbor.com will deliver “the AnnArbor.com newspaper,” into which, presumably, are distilled the remaining print advertising and preprints from the former daily, packaged with news repurposed from the Web site. This is a formula I’ve espoused regularly. Many publishers, looking at the expense weight of seven-day print publishing and distribution, realize it may well be a more sustainable and viable model for the long term — but it’s also a big downsizing from the seven-day model and won’t deliver the kind of profit volume or margin they’ve enjoyed in the past. But then, business as usual is not likely to bring back the profits of yore, either. The Ann Arbor experiment will be watched carefully to see if it offers a way for newspapers to move more decisively toward becoming truly digital enterprises.

Footnote: oddly, [as of Friday, July 24] the former site of the Ann Arbor News carries extensive coverage of the closing of the daily, topped by a May 14 date. Less-than-obvious links to AnnArbor.com are way down the page. UPDATE, 7/26: As noted by Mary Ann Chick Whiteside (blog) in the first comment below, mlive.com has caught up with the closing and now offers a feed from AnnArbor.com under its Ann Arbor tab.  Follow her link to the Ann Arbor News’s coverage of its own demise.

POSTED     July 24, 2009, 5:45 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Open-mic journalism: How The Arizona Republic found success with storytelling events
The four-year-old program has helped boost the newspaper’s events business and helped strengthen relationships with the community through nights of storytelling.
Newsonomics: Buying Yelp — and making it the next core of the local news and information business
The pricetag would be high, but it might be worth it to reassemble one part of the old newspaper bundle — tying together local news and local services.
Crossing the streams: Why competing publications are deciding to team up on podcasts
Low financial risk and a desire for word-of-mouth sharing have led news sites to collaborate, sharing audience and infrastructure.
What to read next
953
tweets
The State of the News Media 2015: Newspapers ↓, smartphones ↑
The annual omnibus report from Pew outlines a story of continued trends more than radical change.
561The Upshot uses geolocation to push readers deeper into data
The New York Times story changes its text depending on where you’re reading it: “It’s a fine line between a smarter default and being creepy.”
422Knight Foundation invests $1 million in creator-driven podcast collective Radiotopia
The money will help PRX’s collective of public media-minded shows develop sustainable business models and expand with new shows and producers.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
American Public Media
Tumblr
The Sunlight Foundation
Flipboard
MediaNews Group
Kaiser Health News
Crosscut
Outside.in
Journal Register Co.
WyoFile
NBC News
The New York Times