Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 8, 2008, 1:44 p.m.

A bonus round of design links

A few design-related items that hang together:

— The ace web-designer Jason Santa Maria writes about the messy way sites display their comments. (This one included.)

Authors spend a good chunk of time and attention writing articles, but so little attention is given to the conversation that happens afterward. Most of the time readers are left to fend for themselves in a comment wasteland. As the comment count soars into the tens and hundreds for an article on a popular news or personal website, the chances of anyone reading both an article and the comments that follow before contributing plummet. This doesn’t stop people from commenting, but after a certain point, most people appear to be commenting blindly.

He suggests making highlighting the best comments part of a community manager’s responsibility and shows an example of his idea. As you might expect, the comments on his post are good — even if there are a lot of them.

— The NYT writes about a new way to target users with specially designed versions of a display ad, on the fly.

— The excellent design resource Smashing Magazine has a thorough writeup on the issues around how to integrate ads into the overall design of a site. Some interesting insights into ad placement on site home pages versus individual story pages. (Along those lines, the new apparently has fewer slots for ads.)

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Dec. 8, 2008, 1:44 p.m.
Show tags
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
As social platforms falter for news, a number of nonprofit outlets are rethinking distribution for impact and in-person engagement.
Radio Ambulante launches its own record label as a home for its podcast’s original music
“So much of podcast music is background, feels like filler sometimes, but with our composers, it never is.”
How uncritical news coverage feeds the AI hype machine
“The coverage tends to be led by industry sources and often takes claims about what the technology can and can’t do, and might be able to do in the future, at face value in ways that contribute to the hype cycle.”