Lynne d Johnson

 

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07.28.07 05:14 PM

Old Black Media Gets A Whiff of Web 2.0

I've been holding back on this post as I've been waiting to see what IAC is doing with their Black venture, what Dame Dash is really doing with BlockSavvy or even what's to come of the Global Grind (a project that I can't really talk about right now, but try to get yourself an invite and you'll find out what it is).

lately I've noticed that many old black media spaces are stepping up, reviving their sites, and bringing on various elements of Web 2.0. They're are no YouTube or MySpace killers here, and yet perhaps, even some of these slightest changes being made are all that needs to be done for each of these site's respective audiences. Overall, each site has a cleaner look, similar to a blog style, with easier navigation, and more video and community tools.

blackenterprise.jpg

BlackEnterprise.com
BlackEnterprise officially announced the relaunch of their site last week, but I've been watching things from the background as the business book slowly rolled out some site enhancements. Now users can access:

"a multimedia library with unlimited, free-of-charge video access to black enterprise's television programs, Our World with Black Enterprise and Black Enterprise Business Report, as well as audio access to be's radio program, Black Enterprise Magazine's Keys to a Better Life"

Articles have ratings and comments functionality, but overall the site is really making great use of SEO or Web 2.0 viral marketing tools, such as simple digg links or even RSS feeds.

essence.jpg

Essence.com
I'm not really certain that Essence.com has relaunched, but I know it looks entirely different than it has in the past. Perhaps VibeVixen, Honey -- or even the fabulous online only fashion & beauty site ClutchMagazine -- has the corporate powers that be shaking in their boots.

The deal is this, it's a cleaner look, more white space, easier to figure out where things are and what they are. Icons now clearly display videos and photos, and site fonts appear to attempt to target a younger demographic. Again no social networking tools here, though some interactivity in terms of trying to get readers involved in becoming featured in future articles and of course commenting is built into each article template.

ebonyjet.jpg

EbonyJet.com
I don't even remember how I happened upon this discovery, because according to the site's senior editor, Terry Glover, who I just met at BlogHer in Chicago, they haven't even officially announced that the site exists.

When I first happened upon it, I thought it came from the input of the new group publisher of Ebony and Jet, Kenard Gibbs. What I've learned since, is the site is the brainchild of Eric Easter, Chief of Digital Strategy, and Glover herself.

The site provides daily content across various topics, such as politics, arts & culture, entertainment, travel and living. Like the previous two sites, there's a video focus but it looks as if the content is coming from external partners. Using the Brightcove player works well for both video and photo gallery usage, as a partner, Brightcove is an excellent distribution vehicle bringing a site traffic it's not getting on its own -- as long as its content is tagged appropriately. There are RSS Feeds there, but I don't see any opportunities for community involvement.

Of course I'm critiquing the site before it even looks like it's fully ready for the public. So I'll keep a watch out.

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