Wisconsin State Journal’s “Readers Choice”

Mark Glaser points to the this AP article about the Wisconsin State Journal’s recent move to allow its online readers to vote on the print edition’s top story. An interesting idea. This indicates that it could result in more headlines about Badger hockey than on the governor’s race:

In a test run last week, readers favoured a story about two backup University of Wisconsin-Madison football players who were arrested on marijuana charges over news that Osama bin Laden had issued a new warning of attacks in the US.

On the other hand, the “FEMA failed” story is leading today as of 3 pm Central:

Answer Votes Percentage
FEMA wasted millions in disaster aid 39 45%
Can you find love via instant messaging? 14 16%
Clowns without borders: No laughing matter 3 3%
Chuck Chvala goes to jail 21 24%
Iran calls off nuclear talks 10 11%

The WSJ is assuming that its online and print readers share the same interests– I wonder what the data suggests. I suspect that readers of the website primarily use it for local news and, yes, Badger sports. If they want national or international news, there are better options than the State Journal. Print readers, I would guess, consume a smaller variety of news and thus it is more important to them for the Bin Laden story to be on the front page. I am flashing back to the hyper-local talk Tom Rob Curley gave at last year’s Integrated Media Association conference, in which he proclaimed that the Lawrence Journal-World is happy to cede natl/intl news to Cnn.com while beefing up its local news, culture, and above all, sports coverage. (I haven’t heard much about how he and his time are getting along down in Naples…) UPDATE: You can see Rob Curley’s thumbprints all over the Naples News— note the local and absence of national/international news.)


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