Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

The Bee Connects Sacramento

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

After several months of preparation, The Sacramento Bee launched the Sacramento Connect network on Monday March 29th. The network and its associated services take a fresh new approach to content aggregation and interlinking and use several web technologies and tools to bring together the best content from around Sacramento.

Linking to outside blogs and publications was unheard of for a newspaper like The Bee, just a couple of years ago. In fact, the idea for Sacramento Connect was met with some “initial resistance,” according to Sean McMahon, The Bee’s digital product development manager. But the timing was right. “We have a trusted position in the area, ” said McMahon, “and we thought it was time to embrace all these independent voices and bring them in and try to promote them.”

In the short time since its launch, Sacramento Connect has attracted much attention from both publications flocking to join the network as well as readers interested in exploring local Sacramento news. One of the reason for this early success might be the focus of the network on being about content first and foremost, unlike other publisher networks whose main driver is aggregation of ad space inventory.  This focus is evident through Sacramento Connect’s four main user-facing services:

The Sacramento Connect Toolbar
The most noticeable element of the Sacramento Connect network is the toolbar at the bottom of the browser, which shows up when you first visit a Sacramento Connect page and follows you on all sites that are part of the network:

The toolbar includes several useful features and allows quick access to a number of Sacramento Connect network services. For example, a visitor can easily find related stories from across the network, search for any topic, or visit a topic page that is related to the current article that is being read.

Sacramento Connect Home Page
The control panel of the Sacramento Connect network is the Sacramento Connect home page.  This is the first stop for readers who are interested in customizing their experience by selecting the sources of network articles (SacBee, netowrk partners, featured or all) and the category of articles (Business, Entertainment, Politics, etc.) which should be used to filter the desired content. The network home page also serves as a starting point for readers to discover articles that are being written on the network about the subjects that they are most interested in.

Sacramento Connect Related Articles Widget
With the launch of the network, The Bee has also included a widget on each of its article pages, showing related content from across Sacramento Connect. This article, for example, shows the Sacramento Connect widget on the rightmost column of the page. This is yet another way for The Bee to provide their readers with access to interesting, relevant articles from across the network.

Sacramento Connect on Lingospot Topic Portals
Content from the Sacramento Connect network can also be found on The Bee’s topic portals, such as the one on Medical Marijuana. Readers who visit such a topic-specific page will now have the opportunity to not only read The Bee’s coverage of the topic, but also to see coverage from other sources in the network. In the above example, a reader would be able to get the viewpoint of YubaNet, North Sac Beat, Jeff Peline’s Sierra Foothills Report and other local publishers.

The above four services create the main framework of content aggregation and interlinking within Sacramento Connect and have already been embraced by readers as a convenient access to the best content from Sacramento.

We are proud to have been a part of the launch of Sacramento Connect and wish our friends at The Bee best of luck in growing and strengthening the network.

The Hunt is On!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


Black Friday is a day when bargain hunters hit the streets in search of the best deals, and this year the economic challenges and high unemployment make this day particular important for consumers and retailers alike.

During the last couple of days, Gannett newspaper and TV online properties across the nation have been helping their visitors take full advantage of tomorrow’s incredible deals. At the center of this effort are the Black Friday topic portals, which have seen a tremendous spike in traffic as the hour of bargains approaches.

The Black Friday portals include something for everyone. For the casual shopper, there are handy printable PDF lists of sale items and promotions from top retailers, such as and Best Buy. The more involved bargain hunter will appreciate store layout maps, showing strategic locations of sales items, available for some of the largest discount stores such as Walmart, Kmart, Target and Sears. Finally, for the hardcore bargain hunter, there is a calculator for the uber-shopper, my personal favorite, where data can be sliced and diced to find just the right deal.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

USA Today Tracks the Swine Flu With Lingospot

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Online visitors of can now get the latest news and information about the Swine Flu as well as track incidents across the United States. Using the Lingospot Topic Portals technology, USA Today is aggregating articles, blog posts, videos, photos, and tweets, in real-time, providing a central dashboard with the latest information and news on the Swine Flu epidemic. The Swine Flu page also has links to resources, such as articles from the CDC and links to the government site, as well as a handy widget for visitors to find out where to get vaccinated.

The USA Today Swine Flu topic page is the latest in series of implementations of the Lingospot technology across the Gannett newspaper properties.

Government Executive Introduces Live Web Channels For Federal Agencies

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

We are delighted to announce that Government Executive, the premier media resource for federal decision makers, has launched News by Agency, a suite of over 40 web channels customized for individual federal agencies.

Powered by Lingospot’s topic portals technology, the channels provide federal executives with a dashboard, where they can monitor a broad range of real-time news and information about their agency, including articles from Government Executive and its sister publications, news form external sources, such as the New York Times and CNN, videos, tweets, quotes and other content. “This tool provides federal executives with a window into how the public views and perceives their agency – important information for gauging progress in meeting their mission,” commented Matt Dunie, president of Government Executive Media Group.

Gannett Launches “Cash for Clunkers” Topic Portals

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Earlier this month, we launched our services across the 100+ online properties of Gannett in collaboration with ContentOne, . ContentOne is a division of Gannett, whose mission is to make the company “smarter, better and more efficient in delivering news and information to its customers, while allowing its community of journalists to focus on news and information and avoid duplication.”

The Lingospot service launch was centered around the recently adopted “Cash for Clunkers” program. As a rapidly developing story with national importance and high commercial value, it was the right opportunity for ContentOne to exemplify its online media strategy and an excellent launching pad for the Lingospot service across the Gannett properties.

Lingospot aggregates and dynamically organizes Gannett’s content by topic, while providing editors with tools to easily create and maintain topic portals. Our platform allowed ContentOne to quickly launch special coverage portals with breaking news and developing stories about the Clunkers program (example). These portals were created by aggregating Gannett’s assets (stories, photos, videos, and pooling editorial resources to hand-pick content and/or select the best content sources. The portals use Lingospot’s algorithms to automatically compile and collate a vast repository of content, while human editors add touches of domain knowledge to structure and organize the portals to best serve their audience. Once created, these pages became fully autonomous, as Lingospot’s engine continuously collates the most compelling content to engage the target audience. Editors can, at any point, improve the usefulness of these pages by fine-tuning the parameters and adding deeper domain knowledge.

The Gannett Clunkers portals are composed of three types of content (see screenshot):

  1. Reference Modules (green) provide in depth articles about the program, information on new car models eligible for the program and tools to research and buy new cars. For example, visitors can start by reading an introduction to the program and can then find out whether their clunkers qualify. If so, they can do research for a new car by visiting the portal of each manufacturer, such as the Toyota portal, where they will find the eligible Toyota models and links to research for where to buy the car on, a Gannett property.
  2. News Modules (blue) allow visitors to read the latest Clunker program news from Gannett’s properties, as well as from news sources outside of Gannett to round out the coverage. The universe of external news sources that is searched is fully controlled by the editors at ContentOne, so they can pick the sources that they deem most appropriate and valuable to their visitors. Lingospot then tracks the hundreds or thousands of sources and finds the most relevant and recent content, all with zero editorial effort.
  3. Multimedia Modules (yellow) tap into Lingospot’s ability to aggregate the relevant photographs across Gannett’s properties, as well as videos from their local TV stations, to make the overall visitor experience more engaging. A secondary video offering provides additional national coverage from AP and Bloomberg.

The result of the above combination is a highly engaging, feature-rich, and up-to-date resource for readers to find out all about the Clunkers program.

The Lingospot service was made available to 83 Gannett newspaper sites and 21 TV station sites. These websites simply linked to a portal, which was then dynamically customized to the branding and design of the referring newspaper or TV station. Furthermore, local sites could sell ads and sponsorships on each portal (such as to a local Dodge dealer), as well as tap into Gannett’s sales team for national campaigns across all properties (such as from Ford or Toyota).

Without the Lingospot platform, Gannett’s editors would have to manually create these portals by assembling each component, such as the latest stories, TV clips, relevant photos, links to sister properties and the Web at large. Once created, the editors would then have to maintain these pages to keep the content fresh and relevant. Done manually, this would have been very time consuming and expensive. Moreover, given the fast moving nature of the Clunkers program, ContentOne could not afford to wait for the portal to be manually compiled, nor could they afford to commit editorial resources to keep the portal updated indefinitely. They needed to quickly launch the Clunkers portal across their properties, capture the audience interested in this topic, keep them engaged with compelling content, and get their sales team to hit the pavement selling sponsorships before consumer interest faded or the program was terminated. From conception to launch, it took ContentOne and Lingospot less than 36 hours to go live with a full offering across 104 Gannett sites, allowing the national and local sales teams to take full advantage of this highly targeted sales opportunity.

The Gannett Clunkers launch is a textbook example of the core value that Lingospot is creating: making it easy to engage topically-focused visitors. By enabling publishers to automatically create vertical topic-focused content portals, we are allowing visitors to self-segment based on their topical interests, making them prime targets for high-margin topic-focused ads and sponsorships.

The effect of design on newspaper circulation

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

During the last year, through our partnership with the NAA and through our discussions and cooperation with Gannett and McClatchy, we have learned much about the newspaper industry. Of course, we’ve primarily been focusing on online newspapers and assumed, as most, that the print newspaper’s future is questionable, at best.

So, it was very refreshing to watch this presentation on TED (our favorite source for inspirational speeches) that shows some examples of what a redesign can do to a newspaper’s circulation.