If the Manhattan Project really wants to reconnect with Southern California, they might take a look at the work Rob Curley is doing, instead of sending out lame emails. Fast Company has a piece by Chuck Salter about the self-described “internet punk” whose hyper-local, multimedia websites have revitalized local papers.
And kusports.com, one of Curley’s better-known projects, covered the University of Kansas Jayhawks teams in ways the Lawrence Journal-World couldn’t. In addition to live play-by-play, it featured an animated playbook of the basketball team’s most effective plays, and a writer who previewed coming matchups by simulating them on a computer game and covering them like real games. The result? Three years after Curley took over, monthly page views soared from around 500,000 to a peak of around 13 million. Not bad for a town with 82,000 residents.
The piece quotes LAT managing editor Leo Wolinsky, who saw Curley’s operation last spring in Naples, Florida, as saying:
A newspaper the size of the L.A. Times is a lot more complicated
and that reporters can’t call every bar or restaurant or photograph every high-school athlete in L.A.. Or even the professional ones, right, Leo?
Curley’s rejoiner says volumes:
I don’t think I’m new media. I’m old school. I think newspapers lost their way and started focusing on big investigative stuff and forgot to cover the prom or 10-year-olds playing
And Curley is now vice president of product development for WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI) where Don Graham, Len Downie, Caroline Little and Jim Brady seem to think his ideas might have some merit. And even better, Curley hates registration.
The LA Times must think that all this new media with its bells and whistles is fine for those little papers, but unseemly for an organ of such stature and dignity.
FBLA thinks that’s what’s at the core of the Times’ troubles: it’s just too good for its readers.