Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is this the future of our local health care news?

I must have missed a memo on changes in how Gannett newspapers are covering the lucrative (from an advertising perspective) topic of health care, because I noticed these four "microsites" only today, after getting a tip from a reader:
Maybe these sites have been up forever; that's part of why I'm posting this. In any case, they all appear to be mostly powered by a 12-year-old Toronto company, MediResource, that offers consumer-level information, plus "targeted marketing" to patients, consumers, doctors and pharmacists.

None of this looks like traditional health care news, however. Instead, it's another example of the kind of shelf-stable information I fear Gannett may be substituting for locally produced news as the company looks for ways to deploy ContentOne in the future.

Does your website published one of these microsites? Is it about to? Let us know by posting a link in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.


  1. I think I know the answer, but could someone explain to me---step by step---how and how much money Gannett makes from having sites like these. Thanks.

  2. get a life jim

  3. These new health sites ARE a good resource -- and can be a useful supplement to a newspaper's traditional health reporting. They needn't replace it.

    Louisville, for instance, still has its own full-featured Health & Fitness Web page -- in addition to the link you posted to the MediResource page:

    Remember: Individual staff health stories cycle off Gannett sites and don't serve as a useful, long-term resource....

  4. Are the Ripple6 cloud communities tied into this too, I wonder.

  5. I wonder why the microsites aren't prominently labeled as marketing products and why there are Editor's Picks listed when clearly, no local editor was involved since the picks are the same from state to state. Whatever happened to transparency?

    The appearance of these sites also seems to dovetail a little too nicely with the rumors that features departments are getting the axe soon. I so hope those rumors are wrong, but when things pop up like this with no explanation what are we to think?

  6. This is so wacky.

  7. Jim, you are clueless to not see the business value of aggregating this type of content for the benefit of readers. Healthcare is not "news" per se but more of an information category. Do reporters really break cutting edge health care news? No, they simple aggregate information from health care experts. Maybe they scatter in local sources to make it seem more relevant, but that's more packaging than anything else. However, these sites are another example of Gannett being CLUELESS as to how to make money from their websites. You want to be a media company and yet you are clueless as to monetize your traffic. For Gannett to be a cutting edge news organization, it needs to figure out how to make money from information categories and social networking to subsidize the cost of the news. Journalists just don't get that concept.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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