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baker.pngI’ve cancelled most of my print subscriptions because I so rarely read anything in them that I haven’t already read online. One sub I’ve continued is BusinessWeek because they tend to have deep coverage of stories I care about, and they’re trying harder than Fortune, Forbes, etc. to truly involve readers in co-creation of content.
This week, for example, Steve Baker sourced his upcoming story about Why Twitter Matters on Twitter in 140 word questions and answers which you can track here
Among Baker’s tweets :

#bwstory Going to have a race. Will Twit to 5 or 6 customer service Twits and see which ones respond fast. No @ yet. Shudn’t alert them

(Read his story to see who won.)

BusinessWeek Online has taken readers comments a step into the future. “Sure most mainstream media outlets allow readers to comment on stories, but that doesn’t count for real involvement in the editorial process, says BusinessWeek Online editor-in-chief John Byrne. “

Our audience knows their subjects intimately. It makes sense to make that knowledge part of what we do.”

Bryne tells David Kaplan at Paid Content that he wants to elevate some of the most prolific commenters to the level of regular contributors. To help coordinate reader-reporters into the mix, has just hired Shirley Brady for the new post of engagement editor.
Byrne says

I’ll respond to your suggestions just as I do to my own reporters. “Tom, that’s a brilliant and original idea with importance significance to our readers.” Or, “Frank, I’ve read that story a hundred times. What can you possibly add that’s new?”

He also plans a digital newsletter focusing on readers’ journalism.
Missing from the mix, as far as I can see, is a Digg-like way for readers to vote on which topics interest them the most.
What does this mean to PR types? Better start paying attention to social media because flaks, and clients, who are still just counting clips are nothing but dinosaurs. Where will you find the time? Here’s a hint. Posted by B.L. Ochman
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