The site (www.newsworks.com) will offer a national news lens for the multiple local online news outlets affiliated with NCN, founded in 1995 to leverage newspapers' combined resources online. But more importantly, it will provide both the network branding and layer of news-gathering resources that NCN has designed to offer its affiliates.
PACKAGING LOCAL CONTENT
"I think of this as the collective intelligence of all of our newspapers," said John Papanek, NCN's editor in chief and a former Time editor. "Newsworks functions as our content or production studio." Newsworks, working with Infoseek Corp. and proprietary technologies, will gather and package breaking news in three major formats: story packages that gather links to local affiliates' coverage of the same breaking topics, such as the McVeigh trial; feature packages tied to events or seasonal issues; and vertical content channels that provide regularly updated news on single topics from across the network.
It also will offer an NCN search engine that lets users scan sites all over the network for content on a given topic.
NCN users can designate their "home site" by selecting their region on a virtual U.S. map, setting the Newsworks home page to default to their local newspaper's site through a link. E-mailed and push-driven news delivery are on the agenda, Mr. Papanek said.
ADVERTISERS TARGET LOCALLY
Advertisers will also benefit from being able to target local news. Time Inc. title Sports Illustrated is advertising in a multisite buy in the Chicago, Detroit, New York and Philadelphia markets.
John Reese, SI's development manager, said the title is working on bolstering magazine promotion around breaking local sports news. IBM Corp. in recent months has also used NCN for a 20-market Web campaign promoting an educational Internet conference it staged in different cities.
NCN affiliates contribute roughly 10% of their ad inventory to the network, according to Senior VP-Advertising Tom Bates. They also post links on national stories back to the umbrella site.
$5 MIL BRANDING CAMPAIGN
NCN will support Newsworks as a consumer brand with an approximately $5 million campaign developed in-house, running this summer and more heavily this fall both online and in affiliates' print editions.
NCN affiliates include Knight-Ridder, Gannett Co., Times Mirror, Hearst Corp.