USA Today Goes Social

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With the significant redesign of USA Today’s website, the Gannett publication has taken steps to making its audience part of the news presentation.

At USAToday.com, expanding their editorial mission meant more than just bigger pictures and improving navigation on the site. Editor Ken Paulson wrote about “expanding the journalistic mission”:

Our ambition is to help readers quickly and easily make sense of the world around them by giving them a wider view of the news of the day and connecting them with other readers who can contribute to their understanding of events.

Part of those changes arrive as features familiar to those who already use social networking sites. USA Today will allow its online readers to create avatars and have personal profiles, where they can upload photos, write a blog, and send messages to other users.

Their community features have attracted plenty of commentary. Mathew Ingram wrote that “getting more social with readers is something newspapers have to do.”

Such change may not be universally greeted with open arms. While Michael Arrington enthused about the new features (“These show an intelligent commitment to building community at the site.”), Tony Hung wondered if USA Today is running a little ahead of the curve:

Social features and encouragement of the audience WITH the news is all well and good. But, to what audience is this really playing to? Sure, the socialization of information is the future of news. And blogs like this one like to write about it like its the here and now, and if you

USA Today Goes Social
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