Rejigging the news for the Web

Today’s New York Times has a piece about how American broadcaster ABC is reshaping its news cast for the Internet. There are some differences, and some innovations. Excerpts:

Executives at the broadcast networks know they have opportunities online that they do not have on television — namely, to take chances by testing new forms of news delivery and new types of storytelling. They are also mindful that making their content relevant online is a good way to attract the younger audiences who are less likely to tune in to the evening news on television.

But ABC is the only major broadcast network that is using the staff of its evening newscast to produce a separate and distinct daily program for a Web audience. The 15-minute Webcast often features (Charles) Gibson in the anchor chair, but the similarities end there: the segments can run long, and they purposely look raw and personal, as if they were made for MTV rather than ABC.

Over the course of 20 months, the Webcast has evolved from a basic distillation of the day’s news into an original program that incorporates video blogs, first-person essays and interviews. It covers many of the same stories as its television sibling, but often in a different way: in one example, the day after President Bush announced gradual troop cuts in Iraq, Mr. Gibson was shown debriefing the network’s chief White House correspondent, Martha Raddatz, in the Webcast for a full 3 minutes and 20 seconds — an eternity on a half-hour television newscast.