A couple of interesting what-ifs about newspapers are floating around out there. Both deserve some play in the discussions about the continuing evolution of the newspaper.
First: Washington Post Redesign as a Wiki, from Oliver Reichenstein.
This is clever. The front page of the Post is reworked as a combination of the newspaper’s site (top half) and, for lack of a better term, Web 2.0, largely reader-driven features (bottom half). As Oliver writes, it’s a sketch of possibilities, among them “highest grade,” “most read,” and “most debated” lists of articles to give readers several overviews of what’s in the news and how people are reacting to it.
In his post, Oliver promises more details on the concept, something I’ll be watching for. I’m behind on this: there is follow-up in Newspaper Wiki: Schematics, which fleshes out the process. Deserves a close reading, which I’ll give it later today.
This may be the ultimate mashup: Flickr and the newspaper, but it’s not the form that matters in this act of rethinking, it’s the combination of social media and newspaper into something new. The word audacious comes to mind: it basically rips up the concept of newspaper and reinvents it for a screen age.
What I like about both of these is the act: neither is so much about grafting features or rearranging features. Instead, both Oliver and Travis (aided by whatever unnamed colleagues they may have) have reimagined the beast.
Nothing may come of either (although it would be fairly easy for any existing newspaper to adopted at least some of the features of each) but they are interesting and thought-provoking and help with the continuing evolution of the newspaper.
RELATED: Ryan Sholin has some interesting things to say about the newspaper as wiki idea in his post Mixing the traditional and the postmodern in online news.