Rob Curley is an innovative journalist. The man who put the Lawrence Journal World in the spotlight and was an early champion of multimedia reporting, is now breaking new ground again at the Las Vegas Sun.
Curley says he’s trying to build a newspaper website that builds on the “5 Ps” — the things he says drive Internet traffic.
1. Passion — Curley says people go online to find things they are passionate about. For the Sun, that meant building a site for UNLV sports designed for the fans “who know the starting lineup of 1944 basketball team” Curley says.
2. Practical — “Do I get an iPad or wait for the next big thing? If my friend moves, how do I get there?” Curley says people want the Web to provide answers to their questions. For example, he points to the printable maps available on the Sun site, which show people where to park at one of the largest malls in the area.
3. Play — “When’s the last time a newsroom talked about the fun the audience was going to have today?” Curley asks. “Our goal every day is to give our readers a gift.”
4. Personal communication – People are now spending more time with Facebook than any other application on the Web. Curley says his site is heavily into social media, making it easy to recommend, to tweet, to share and yes, to comment.
“Comments are like that person who treated you horribly in college, yet you still love them ,” says Curley. “Comments break my heart every day, but I love them.”
Curley’s site is implementing strategies to allow comments only from those who use their real names. “Being who you are on the Internet is the new black,” Curley says.
5. Porn – Curley has just three words of comment on this reality of the Web, “Don’t go there.”
This focus on the 5 Ps ( well, 4 of them anyway) does not mean the Sun’s site is ignoring today’s news either, according to Curley.
“We focus big time on breaking news; we want everybody in Vegas to come as soon as they see smoke, and we’ll tell them where the fire is.”
Curley says the next big push is a project called “Home News.” All the site’s content will be geo-tagged and available for access by zip code. Curley says users can get everything from school lunch menus to the YouTube videos posted by their neighbors.
Curley says he’s hoping to beat sites that offer similar content such as Patch.com, but that he’s not worried about competition from them.
“Bring it on!”