Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Increasing Visibility: MIT Researchers Create a Browser Extension to Help Bring More Audiences to Newspapers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Increasing Visibility: MIT Researchers Create a Browser Extension to Help Bring More Audiences to Newspapers

Article excerpt

In front of many stores it's easy to spot a news-stand, where printed on the side in bold lettering is the newspaper's name. However, this isn't the case with many digital news sites.

Enter Matt Carroll, research scientist at the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab and Catherine D'Ignazio, an assistant professor at Emerson College and research affiliate with MIT, creators of NewsPix, a Google Chrome extension that enables news sites to become more visible to audiences.

"A big problem for digital newsrooms is letting readers and viewers know that, yes, they exist and are doing good work. People often don't remember to visit digital news sites because once they are out of sight, they are out of mind," Carroll said. "NewsPix subtly reminds people that a great newsroom exists, and you really should check out their work...It simply, effectively illustrates the good work they really should--need--to check out."

NewsPix is simple. After downloading the extension on Chrome, click open a new tab, and rather than seeing a blank page, a newsworthy photos from the local newsroom will appear.

With NewsPix, a newspaper's website can gain back some of the attention social media has largely taken over. This is especially useful for smaller newspapers said Carroll, a former .Boston Globe reporter.

Alberto Ibarguen, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation (who funded NewsPix) said they wanted to focus on smaller newspapers because many local newspapers have been hit harder than national brands such as the New York Times or Washington Post.

The greatest challenge with NewsPix so far has been the technical issues. …

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