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Corriere della Sera launches social news site Passaparola

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World News Publishing Focus
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Corriere della Sera launches social news site Passaparola

The paper's online readers are invited to register through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or an email account, and are asked to choose a location from a list of Italy's regions, though it is also possible to opt for "abroad." Once an account has been created, Passaparola users can interact with the biggest stories of the day or week by clicking on topic "tags," and by following Corriere journalists or other registered members of the public.

In its current form Passaparola comes across as a mix of key elements of Twitter and Facebook, combining breaking news updates with personalised settings and social interaction. Users are encouraged to interact with one another through comments sections and can express their feelings about a story by choosing one of five options in the "reaction thermometer": outraged, sad, worried, amused or pleased. A "my page" section allows visitors to the site to receive updates on their individual interests and to archive content to be viewed at a later time. All users have access to the "What the country says" segment, the themes of which are changed every day in accordance with the biggest news stories of the moment. 

Describing the ideas behind the far-from-finished project, Corriere journalist Greta Sclaunich explained: "[t]he aim is to make Passaparola a place for discussion, one that could bring the concept of the 18th century coffeehouse as a space of cultural and intellectual debate to the web. Beyond the intellectual interest in producing this kind of social-networking news service, Pier Luca Santoro's media blog Il Giornalaio also suggests Corriere della Sera stands to gain from a more practical point of view, should the venture prove successful. Santoro writes that, without taking into account the improvements that can (and likely will) be made, Passaparola is "valuable" in the sense that it is a sign that news media organisations are beginning to create communities within their websites. Time spent on a site is, Santoro argues, a reliable indicator of reader engagement. By tailoring the news-reading experience to visitor's demands and desires, online news sites can encourage browsers to spend longer on their sites, luring them away from major social media networks like Facebook which are increasingly becoming the principal environments in which individuals access and share news articles.

With this intitiative, Corriere seems to be fighting back against the "drain" on its Internet offerings caused by other more established social media platforms by giving readers a reason to stay on its website for longer. And where online visitors go, advertisers are almost sure to follow.


Amy Hadfield's picture

Amy Hadfield


2013-07-10 17:52

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