Apr 4 2008
06:55 am

The U.T. School of Journalism and Electronic Media's conference on web journalism hosted a presentation by Rob Curley of the Washington Post last night.

He gave an entertaining presentation on some of the incredible, award winning work he has done with interactive news websites over the years. Some of it is mind boggling.

Here are some brief notes from his 2+ hour presentation...

Why do people visit websites? 1) Passion: to read about and participate in things they are interested in. 2) Practical: to get practical advice and info on consumer purchases, reviews, movie schedules, traffic reports, etc. 3) Playful: as a diversion, to waste time.

Some notes on news website development:

Create "hyper-deep" content, with layers and layers of information about a topic that users can drill down into.

Support this using database driven coverage, and hire the best database geeks to build it.

Go for multimedia overkill.

Evergeeen content: for example, a town's history. You only have to write it and build it once and update it every year or so.

Platform independent delivery: design for reading via mobile devices, iPhones, RSS readers, internet, video distribution, e-mail, the web, etc. etc.

Create a dialog, not a monologue.

Build websites that work the way the internet works.

Use "intern-ology", getting lots of interns to do lots of labor intensive work and research.

Many of the innovative examples presented to illustrate these concepts are extinct, presumably because Rob has moved on and taken the crews that knew how they worked with him (which could be another topic of discussion: "sustainable development" in the software world). One that survives is Washington Post's On Being.

The Next Big Things:

• HD over IP, Apple TV
• Metered internet
• Google Open Social

UPDATE: Katie has this report about the venue, and will have more on the presentation throughout the day.

UPDATE: Jack Lail comments on the presentation.

UPDATE: Russ McBee comments on the presentations.

UPDATE: Bob Benz, who was also a panelist at the conference, weighs in. (If you want to monetize your website, Bob Benz is the go to guy.)

Laruen Spuhler's picture

Hey Randy, I think you

Hey Randy, I think you forgot Rob's fourth "p" :)

R. Neal's picture

(No subject)

Hey Randy, I think you forgot Rob's fourth "p" :)

My notes are sketchy. What was it?

jmcnair's picture


WhitesCreek's picture

What an entertaining evening

Most of us noted that none of the really cool award winning web projects of our presenter made a profit or even paid for themselves, but did that stop him? No way.

Every failure got him bumped into a bigger newspaper.

There's a moral here but danged if I can sort it out.

Twas totally fun, even if it was the most bloggers I'd ever seen in one spot totally sober.

Right, Rikki?

Russ's picture


Twas totally fun, even if it was the most bloggers I'd ever seen in one spot totally sober.

Damn that no-alcohol policy!

It sure was an amazing presentation, even totally sober.


R. Neal's picture

Heh. Yes, forgot about the

Heh. Yes, forgot about the other "P", which seems to be the only guaranteed way to make money on the internets.

P.S. Post updated with links to other comments about the presentation.

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