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June 19, 2007 / Toby Dayton

San Diego Union Tribune Gets It Right On The Web

While most daily newspapers around the country have struggled desperately to figure out how to compete effectively online, the San Diego Union Tribune is not one of them.  In fact, my first impression from the site is that it stands as one of the best local daily newspaper web sites I’ve seen. Granted, I don’t live in San Diego and I haven’t spent a ton of time on the site or used it as a local resident would, but it seems at first glance to be quite impressive. While they have all the typical stuff one would expect to find on a local newspaper site, a few key differences stand out immediately. The site is slightly better designed and more user-friendly than most newspaper web sites, and with more categories on the left nav bar and links and buttons placed effectively around the page, it works very well to get people into the site quickly. But the big differences in the site are the content, features, and functionality that the site offers – blogs, wikis, web cams all over town, a huge quantity of guides, directories and resources, visitor information, e-postcards, forums, etc.

Not everything is earth-shattering, and the Union Tribune certainly isn’t going to set the standard for web innovation, but for a daily newspaper web site, it seems to be an excellent resource for the community. And the reason for my visit to the site, AmplifySD, should serve as a model for how daily papers can leverage technology to serve niche audiences and build online communities. It’s a great site that proves that not all daily papers have to be inept at figuring out how to translate their business models onto the web.

[tags]San Diego, San Diego Union Tribune, Daily Newspaper Web Sites, Local Web Sites, AmplifySD[/tags]