Monday, June 11, 2007

The Columbia Record is dead

Maybe for good, this time.

The State newspaper in Columbia made quite a splash almost two years ago (maybe a bit more) when it created The Columbia Record online. It was a splash in two ways: It promoted the heck out of the new citizen journalism/blogging space with full-page ads, and it angered some alumni of the old Columbia Record, which went to its death in 1988, as most afternoon papers did.

Now, quietly, the State has dropped the Record name again. Type into your browser, and you will find yourself at "Your Turn," a Wordpress blog that serves as a weak successor for what was supposed to have been a community portal. The blogs that used to be affiliated with The Columbia Record online have now been moved over to a "Carolina Blogger" portal where they are listed along with staff blogs.

File the second demise of the Record under how not to set up a community portal and citizen journalism site. The State tried to use one site to cover a metro area with widely different neighborhoods. Yes, there were subcategories, but it took several clicks to get there. You could not elect to choose one of them as your home page on the site. And even then, the areas were ill-defined in some cases. The most successful sites bore in and focus on tiny but well-defined chunks of their communities. And the best develop a personality all their own, not a cookie-cutter template.

The State has moved its blog list to the (bottom of) its first Web page, so that's good. Better would be if it started integrating snippets of the posts as well. (And if it fixed that broken Carolina Blogger link in the middle of the page.)

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At 6/11/07, 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They created that because someone was sniffing around doing a print product with that name and they wanted to maintain the trademark, I heard.

Not a good enough reason to bring it back.

I remember the Record from my days at USC.

Its too bad the better paper died.


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