Virtual Victories 

Daily fares well in comparison of news Web sites

Daily fares well in comparison of news Web sites

The Tennessean has a “fine” local and regional news Web site, says Nora Paul, director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism.

Paul studied the Web sites of The Tennessean and four other regional newspapers for the Scene: The Hartford Courant, the Austin American-Statesman, Louisville’s Courier-Journal, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

She says The Tennessean’s Web site is as good as, if not better than, any other in the control group. The paper’s Web site is, according to Paul’s analysis, “exploring the outer edges of what technology can do to enhance news coverage and provide local information and interesting features.”

Her report also includes these observations:

The Tennessean site concentrates on local news and is proud of it. Only the Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Web site comes close to The Tennessean in terms of local concentration.

♦ Both The Tennessean’s and The Hartford Courant’s Web sites do a nice job of updating stories throughout the day.

The Tennessean’s local entertainment section is “terrific” and “easy to navigate.” In this category, Paul says no single Web site emerged as a clear winner.

The Tennessean has used the “long shelf life and deep storytelling space of the Web to great advantage.” The paper’s project packages, such as a long story on Adelphia Coliseum and the continual updating of its lengthy investigation into mysterious illnesses at Oak Ridge, are “wonderful examples of the power of this medium to tell important stories and to keep them fresh.” The Tennessean does a great job of investing in special story packages, with “some great use of panorama photography.”

♦ In terms of connection to its community, The Tennessean’s Web site is no better or worse than the others. Paul says that all the papers in the group have work to do in this area.

—Willy Stern

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