These days, you don't need to launch portal sites that vie for new audiences. You're better served leveraging existing applications to provide new functionality for venues that already attract a fair share of eyeballs or that even cultivate their own communities.
Internet activist Lawrence Lessig points out a feature of Apture, a rich media content compilation platform, that promotes government transparency by allowing bloggers and other publishers to embed links to rich media background info on politicians and their records (i.e., key moments of testimony in videos, historical source materials, government documents, and even bills and resolutions).
Apture announced Monday that it will partner with The Washington Post to promote this application, offering readers "a highly engaging way to view political data, congressional records, video, news and abstracts within a single Washingtonpost.com browser experience."
The Apture technology will integrate with Washingtonpost.com's congressional votes database to provide up-to-date information on the latest House and Senate votes. In addition, Washingtonpost.com will make this data and content available to any blog or Web site that uses the Apture publishing platform.
This partnership marks a larger trend: no longer concerned about "leakage" (visitors exiting a site following external links), news outlets are opening their portals to dynamically aggregated third-party content. Another prominent example is The New York Times and its recent beta-launch of Times Extra. The service aggregates news headlines from other publications (including blogs) and attaches them to relevant articles on The New York Times home page.
Denise Warren, chief advertising officer of the New York Times Media Group, said in a statement: "We are addressing a common desire for comprehensiveness, enabling people to find all the news and information they could want from all sorts of sources. Initiatives such as Times Extra and our other new products allow us to do an even better job of responding to our audiences' demands for interactivity, community, multimedia and news and information on an increasingly wide range of topics."
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times get the new "openness" of news media: they are gradually morphing into software companies, serving as curators of digital content from both inside and outside of their own newsrooms.