Ahead of TBD Launch, ?Washington Post? Bulks Up Local D.C. Online Offerings

By: E&P Staff

With Allbritton Communications about to launch its much-anticipated TBD.com site devoted to the D.C. local community, The Washington Post Wednesday expanded its local home page and renamed it PostLocal.com.

The new site comes five weeks after the Post similarly launched its PostPolitics.com site, which could be viewed as a response to Politico and other political-oriented sites.

“This is just the first of several initiatives as we continue to develop the site and create tools that are useful to our audience,” Post Local Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said in the PostLocal announcement. “Our aim is to use the expertise of Post reporters to provide readers with credible reporting and up-to-date information that affects their daily lives.”

Like TDB, which is next week kicking off events to attract D.C.-area bloggers, the Post site has assembled a network of independent bloggers opining on local issues called “All Opinions Are Local.”

Mike DeBonis, identified as a local political expert is launching a local politics blog that the paper says “will regularly break news, analyze the political scene and hold local leaders accountable.”  DeBonis will also write a column that will be published early online Thursdays and in print Fridays, the Post said.

Among other features on PostLocal are “The Daily Gripe” to report problems in neighborhoods; a morning blog by reporter Lori Aratani providing a digest of top local stories and a look ahead to the day’s coverage; and “News Reload,” which uses the Post’s TimeSpace program to search find local news, day by day.

In the manner of nearly all new launches, PostLocal has strong social media elements. It “creates a community allowing readers to be a part of the conversation by participating in live discussions directly with reporters and an opportunity to help drive coverage in a feature called Story Lab,” the paper said.

The social media elements will also have a print component, with page B2 of the print newspaper on Tuesdays through Fridays devoted to reader reacting to stories and offering local-oriented ideas.

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