News-media face a rapidly changing online environment, where the line between traditional journalism and readership participation is increasingly blurred.
Most online newspapers allow comments and use external social media for ‘liking’ and networking. Yet the result is little more than a discussion thread. Readers who want a deeper understanding – "do women and men see things differently?", "how do values trends differ for age and ethnicity?" – are stymied.
Comment pages and social networks encourage 'sound bites'. Open-minded conversation is rare. Too often people end up insulting each other in public - a poor ethical advertisement.
It’s the perfect time for online newspapers to create their own communities, keeping readers on their own websites rather than driving them to distracting external networks.
- Online ‘thinking communities’ enable readers to respond deeply to issues of the day
- Readers can post their own Issues in five different digital formats, including the unique Think Screen
- Any reader can research responses in depth – evolving from a passive recipient of news into a habitual researcher
- Every use of the Thinking Community is recorded intelligently, allowing extensive data-mining of readers’ values and preferences.
- The organisation can choose to open its site to schools and universities; for education, research and community engagement
- A growth and expansion point for online newspapers