The Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription required) has a new online community tool called Buzz.mn. The community lets users share blog posts, events, and photos about the Twin Cities and their neighborhoods.
This is a step above what some online newspapers have been doing by trying to increase readership and retention. Greg Sterling from Screenwerk points out how some are trying to improve this, but not necessarily in the right way.
One thing that buzz.mn is doing is promoting user-generated media, letting their own users post their own content. It’s most likely moderated heavily, and only relevant community information will be allowed (this is a good thing).
Hopefully they will be able to monitize from it. They do have contextual ads, although they are spammy-looking ones like this:
Since it’s a local community, hopefully they will consider relevant local ads instead. More on that here.
It’s no secret that many newspapers struggle with other Web channels that can take away their advertising revenues. According to a Yahoo Finance press release, newspapers attract high-spending Internet users (that’s another post on its own). Just make it easy for users to buy, and they’ll advertise with you.