Home Poll: Should a newspaper be a social network?

Poll: Should a newspaper be a social network?

The title of this week’s poll is taken straight from Matthew
Ingram’s post
about USA
Today’s re-design
. The new-look USA Today incorporates many of the social
networking features that have become popular over the last year or so. Or as
the editor of USA Today put it
: “the real change is in the approach, not the
appearance.” And the approach, in a nutshell, is to merge traditional journalistic
reporting with social software. The changes, as summarized by USA Today, enable
their readers to:

• Scan other news sources directly on USATODAY.com;

• See how readers are reacting to stories;

• Recommend stories and comments to other readers;

• Comment directly on stories;

• Participate in discussion forums;

• Write reviews (of movies, music and more);

• Contribute photos;

• Better communicate with USA TODAY staff.

The USA Today re-design has predictably caused a massive weekend
at Techmeme, with many bloggers excited about the changes. But as Don
Dodge precisely
points out
, 92% of USA Today’s own readers dislike the changes. This
is reminiscent
of the Netscape
last year, when the portal Netscape changed overnight into a Digg
clone – causing howls
of outrage
from Netscape’s traditional user base.

So to the poll. We’re interested in the high level trend here. Are newspapers
going to morph into social networks over time, a place where people not only
read the news but socialize with other readers (and journalists)? Or is this more
that the MySpace craze has gone too far…

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