Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The new Politico 44 site -- An assessment

Politico has a new site up -- "Politico 44," subtitled "A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency."

What's "future of news"-y about it:

-- It's breaking away from the newspaper-y "mental model" of news--everything thrown into the same package. Instead, the editors are thinking about their readers and what their readers want. Is there appetite for Obama news alone? Great, they clearly said, let's create a "product" that delivers just that.

-- The "President Elect's Calendar" feature (right). Sure, it might feel like it's not
telling us much (yesterday just had four items: Obama goes to gym, Obama arrives at office, Obama goes to Vets Day memorial, Podesta briefs reporters), but that's OK. It's breaking out of the "everything as text" mindset of traditional journalism. And that's a good thing.

What's "old school" about it:

-- It's lifeless. There's no party going on there. Just a bunch of stuff the Politico staff has thrown up there. No interaction. Nothing dynamic. Nothing in a crowdsourcing direction.

-- When you click through to a story, you lose your location -- you're thrown back into Politico regular. Sure, that might be a good way to drive traffic to Politico. But it won't last. People come to destinations because they want to feel like they're somewhere. Something that's just a wrapping paper over the old stuff won't build loyalty.

Good on Politico for giving this a shot. But like all v1's, it's going to need a few more iterations, many probably, before it finds its groove.

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