Online Newsroom Design Best Practices

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It’s time to streamline your online newsroom, according to Former CBS News correspondent David Henderson.

But exactly who should you be streamlining it for? Who’s your target audience?

The news media? Or everyone?

Above is the online newsroom for UCLA, which my company iPressroom built and hosts.

To keep it up to date, a staff led by Kevin Roderick gets news from PIOs at the 14 different colleges, prioritizes which ones will be published to which columns and keeps the newsroom fresh daily.

I interviewed online usability expert Jakob Nielsen about best practices for online newsrooms almost three years ago, and while he disagrees with Henderson about what you should call your online newsroom (14:58 “…people really know what you mean when you say pressroom), his insights about:

  • Online reputation management
  • Correlation between online User Experience and brand perception and
  • Common mistakes organizations make when launching an internet pressroom…

…are as true today as they were when he spoke them.

I travel around regularly leading digital marketing training programs and constantly remind digital PR consultants that while websites, blogs, podcasts, and social networks get most of the attention, the online newsroom is the organizational communications homeland, online or off.

Just as you wouldn’t invite someone over to your house without cleaning up first, if you’re going to participate in online conversations, you need to get your website in order first.

At my company, which specializes in building online newsrooms that can be managed by nontechnical personnel, we’ve built several newsrooms like this one and this one that are not just practical online media relations resources but go a step further by showcasing company news in a way that works for the public as well as the press.

Today, every company is a media a media company. That’s what owned media marketing is all about.

Let’s face it: the print news media business is fighting for survival. Apple has nearly check-mated the music business with access and ease of use, and with more than 12 billion videos being viewed monthly online, TV news is probably next.

Organizations can no longer rely on the news media to tell their stories. As the fourth estate continues to wane, forward-thinking organizations realize that they need to tell their stories in a way that is not just factual and informative but exciting and entertaining.

Online Newsroom Design Resources

  • Cisco Online Newsroom Manager Jeanette Gibson – Economic benefits of online newsrooms.
  • Wall Street Journal Personal Technology Columnist Walt Mossberg – What he expects to find in your online newsroom.
  • NY Times Technology Editor Steve Lohr – Online newsroom search engine optimization.

What do you think? Should online newsrooms be built primarily for journalists, or do they need to work for everyone? Send me a link to your online newsroom and let me know.

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