Washingtonpost.com’s recent launch of its Political Browser is not just an attempt to get in on the game of link journalism and news aggregation but an insightful way at wooing 36 percent of the American public that now regularly consumes news online. Perhaps more importantly, their nontraditional approach will be important in the future in capturing the attention of the young and currently disengaged to whom technology is second nature.
That the public is turning away from traditional media in lieu of online news isn’t news. But as the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported last month, a third of the public has reached a crossroads in which online news consumption blends with traditional media outlets. Many newspapers haven’t taken well to the trend, and The Post is in a position to lead the way.
If you haven’t seen it, the Political Browser from political reporting powerhouse Washington Post, offers readers “what’s good on the web” via links to traditional news sites like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as commentary and stories from both sides of the aisle a la The Huffington Post and Powerline.
It draws on the good reputation of its journalists by offering their suggested links. It integrates a wire-photo feed and links to video stories. I have to wonder if the photo feed will ever include links to “amateur” news photos via sites like Flickr.
And you can’t forget the social aspect of the model that allows readers to suggest links, as well as comment on any link The Post suggests.
Pew’s data — that one-third of Americans are logging on and consuming news during the course of the day rather than in one sitting and have a desire to consume from blogs in addition to traditional media outlets — makes the Political Browser a model that other newsoutlets would be smart to follow. The future news consumers of the world aren’t neccessarily interested in politics and current events now, but they will be someday. And it’s unlikely they’ll backtrack to traditional media to do so.