Every story should be a Web site, and a Web site should be a network hub

To enhance your story’s online ferocity, build it as a standalone, interactive network hub for the topic it broaches, and make it easily embedded in other Web sites.

Building a network hub means you provide content filtering services in addition to your own researching and reporting:

  1. Provide well-described links to other news, opinion and information sources relevant to your story; this description includes a summary of the linked-to information, and a clear reason why your customers should visit the site;
  2. Provide a custom search engine that scours high-quality news, opinion and information sources relevant to your story; results need to show up on your story/hub/site;
  3. Allow your customers to contribute content and incorporate that content;
  4. Syndicate content updates and additions to this story/hub/site;
  5. Allow your customers to remix your content; for example, make your story/hub/site function like mash.yahoo.com, which will allow users to edit each other’s pages; each alteration creates a new version of the story/hub/site that has all of the functionality of the original story/hub/site and can be visited separately from other versions;
  6. Provide a for-sale space for advertisers to contribute valuable content; this could be company X hiring blogger A to post useful content to this story/hub/site with a “sponsored by” message following each post; I’ll write about this more in a separate post;
  7. Make components of the story/hub/site independently embeddable.

Thank you to these folks for inspiring this post:

  1. Publish2 on news organizations becoming hubs of distribution; interesting because Scott Karp poses the idea of rich, digital packages that have the same information-product power as a newspaper in its entirety;
  2. Readership Institute on network building; interesting because Rich Gordon explains the disadvantages of building a destination site in an era of networking; or is a network hub just another destination?
  3. The Networked Journalism Summit; this sentence gets me drooling: “The last third of the day will be devoted to what’s next, with participants meeting to come up with new collaborations.”

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