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The Bivings Report on Ways to Improve Newspaper Websites

The Toronto Star Gets It!

Earlier this month I mentioned an idea for a free, customizable, downloadable, mini-issue of The Wall Street Journal (or any newspaper) in PDF format. Thanks to Wiley colleague Lucas Wilk for pointing me to this announcement today from The Toronto Star. Their new “Star P.M.” service is all that and more -- it launches on September 5th.

I don’t live in Canada and I’ve never read The Toronto Star, but I just subscribed to this program – I can’t wait to see how it works. I hope it’s a huge success for them and that other papers will follow their lead.


Eoin Purcell

I forgot to mention when I read the original posting, The Guardian in the UK offers the service as G24. You can choose a topic and print the top stories in that topic as a PDf. They are updated fairly regularly.

Joe Wikert

Hi Eoin. Thanks for pointing this out. I just visited The Guardian's site and I see what they're doing. It's a great start, but I was thinking of something more broad and flexible. It looks like The Guardian offers 5 different summaries of the news (top stories, world, business, media and sports). Those are all "keepers", but how about adding a feature where I can pick and choose from the topic areas I'm interested in? Maybe there's a list of defaults to choose from, but I could also add in my own set of keywords I'd like them to track for me. The other thing I'd strongly recommend is enabling a delivery system rather than forcing customers to come to their website. Once I customize my options, let me give you an e-mail address to send the PDF to. That way, it's waiting for me in my in-box, ready to be printed. In fact, it would be *great* if they'd let me state the cut-off time to do one last scan of the news before they build the PDF. I could say "check for these stories at 3:30 so that you can have the PDF of all the latest info to me by 4:00", for example.

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