The Austin American-Statesman hosts a series of blogs written by featured local personalities, with an emphasis on the “hyper-local” coverage of local events. The blogs are based on a new service from Pluck Corp. introduced today, Pluck InSite. InSite helps publishers, particularly local and regional newspapers, integrate social publishing and RSS feeds with their offerings. Many newspapers have launched blogs and other experiments in citizen journalism, but InSite brings publishers a full range of services that will allow them to take advantage of citizen journalism and enable readers to bring outside sources into the local newspaper's site using RSS. With InSite, a newspaper’s users can assemble customized pages with content from sources not covered extensively by the local paper, by assembling feeds with an embedded RSS feed reader. What’s nice about the InSite solution from the newspaper’s point of view is that it fills a number of needs. So instead of dealing with one blogging software provider and another RSS reader vendor, Pluck has built a combined package for the multiple fronts on which the newspaper can engage the reader.
In Outsell’s opinion, embracing rather than fighting citizen journalism and the “decontainerization” of content is one of the routes to survival for traditional publishers. It takes a bit of courage on the part of a publisher to acknowledge that it is no longer the only source of news information for its readers. The local newspaper’s mindshare is eroded on the one hand by very compelling local coverage being provided by bloggers, and on the other hand by certain types of content, such as national and international news, that is better provided by other publishers. Pluck’s software allows a local newspaper to harness both, by hosting local blogs and by helping users assemble their own coverage of other published sources, all within the local publisher’s site and under its brand. It allows a local paper to compete with major portals for readers who are currently going elsewhere for external content. Publishers can fight social publishing and citizen journalism, or they can embrace it - Pluck’s InSite offers a pretty complete set of tools for embracing it.