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Customized front pages on news Web sites

So, after talking with one of the reporters I met in the past few days and thinking about this, I have a question… Why aren’t newspaper Web sites more like My Yahoo! or Google‘s personalized home?

Hear me out. It isn’t hard to create elements that are movable. On a very small scale, I did it with my magnetic poetry at typical. It was super easy, a little DHTML script. (Admitedly, I didn’t write the script, I found it on Dynamic Drive. I haven’t had time/desire to learn and teach myself yet.)

So, as much as newspapers are saying, “We want to give you what you want!” Why don’t they make their Web sites fully customizable? So, if sports are the most important thing to me, I can put that up top. If breaking news is most important, I can make that higher in the hierarchy. If I want to know when new videos are posted, I could move that above the blogs or columnists I don’t care as much about.

This would also give readers a reason to sign up (ask a few demographic questions, which helps the paper know who the viewers are beyond IP addresses.) People would be less inclined to use services like BugMeNot to avoid registration, if the layout/content was customized to each user’s experience.

I don’t know of any newspaper Web sites that are doing this. But it is a really good idea and I can almost guarantee it will happen eventually. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some examples.

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