An update and an idea from MinnPost:
Two people interviewed Joel Kramer of MinnPost in December. MinnPost is a nonprofit online newspaper startup that launched in late fall.
The most interesting idea from the interviews, I found, was creating Partners in Print, described by Kramer as “organizations that agree to print at least 10 copies a day of MinnPost in print and distribute them free to customers and/or employees.” In the Dec. 11 interview with Dave Kaufman, Kramer said Minnpost had 10 partners. Less than a month later, the website lists 54 partners, including coffee shops and government and academic institutions.
The print version is designed for eight 8.5 x 11 pages, in newspaper format, using InDesign, and available through the website in .pdf format in black and white or color. If a partner agrees to print more than 250 copies, the partner gets a message on the front page. All partners get their names on the website. I’d go a step further, and give them free, unobtrusive (read: not pop-up), well-designed display ads on the site.
The Dec. 4 interview with Kramer, from Bob Ingrassia at the State of Local, deals mostly in numbers. An interesting Kramer quote: “Biggest surprise is how many people are reading the site on the weekend – more than 8,000 page views almost every weekend day, even though we’re not publishing new content on the weekend. I guess busy people are using the weekend to catch up on all the stories we published during the week.”
Sidenote: Early East Coast time after the Iowa caucuses, MinnPost’s lead political story was an analysis saying McCain was still hopeful. If site editors decided they would not try to compete with live caucus coverage, perhaps a link to live quality coverage elsewhere would have been useful for readers.