Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Message From Robertson Barrett


As David discussed in his note earlier today, we have a number of new online products coming down the pike over the next several months as part of The Times’ new multimedia push. The first of these, My LATimes, is available today.

My LATimes (MyLATimes) is a new section of latimes.com designed to offer a faster, easier and more flexible way to view LA Times stories and content from a select group of online news sites recommended by Times editors -- all on one Web page, using a fast-growing technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

The idea for My LATimes came from a gap we saw in the RSS reader market. While companies like Yahoo, AOL and Google have offered RSS readers for some time, we felt that these products were designed for the tech crowd. There isn’t much out there to let the larger audience -- including Times readers -- pick and choose their sources to create their own news Web page. Other major newspapers have recently developed RSS readers, but these tend to offer a poor user experience (e.g., slow to load, confusing to use, etc.). We also felt that other newspapers were too hesitant to suggest other sources on the Web in addition to their own content. But we think our editors have great knowledge of additional sources of information that complement our own content, so why not also be guides to our readers?

To support the launch of My LATimes, we’ll let online users subscribe to The Times content from any article page on latimes.com, and we’ll be implementing an improved site registration process to make it easier to sign up. Going forward, we’ll incorporate suggestions from Web users and the newsroom to improve and streamline My LATimes. At least as important, we’ll showcase the more frequent story feeds coming from the newsroom as we beef up our breaking news operation across the paper.

Please join me in congratulating the team that built My LATimes on a job well done: Inger Lund, Steven Lee, Dari Yerushalmi, Clint Stephenson, Mike Castelvecchi, Mike Niedermeier, Rey Castillo, Mae Tuck, Tim Bruesehoff, Joel Sappell and Jason Oberfest. They put together the coolest news feed service on the Web and have taken us one step further toward our goal of making The Times a multimedia company for the current and next generations of news and information consumers.

All best,

Rob Barrett

Robertson Barrett
VP/GM, Interactive

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