Palm Beach Post offers interactive tools for readers

By REBECCA LATTANZIO

With the shrinking market of print journalism, newspapers have turned to making their websites the new face of their product. Some newspapers, however, do this better than others. As a resident of Palm Beach County for 15 years, The Palm Beach Post was the go-to source for news, especially local updates, an area that the paper excels in. The Palm Beach Post has done at great job at creating a website that is compelling, easy to navigate and interactive, something many other newspaper sites lack. The Palm Beach Post site is one for other newspapers to emulate and from which to learn.

Some of their interactive tools:

1. Weather— They use interactive Bing radar maps to show weather patterns and happenings across the state and nationally. Users are also allowed to sign up for storm alerts via email, cellphones, or PDAs. They also allow users to choose their city and calculate how close a hurricane or tropical storm is from them and at what time the storm will hit them. Just for fun, the site also includes a “frizz factor,” which shows how the humidity that day will affect the hair of women out there that are worried about their appearance.

2. Crime Report— Users are able to use and interactive map to select their location and view the crimes in that area. They can view sexual crimes, homicides, vehicular crimes, theft, burglary, robbery, standard of living crimes, and assault. They can also choose the time period they would like to look at.

3. Economy— With all the hype behind economic issues lately, it only makes sense for a publication to address it, and The Palm Beach Post has done just that. They include an interactive gas meter complete with a map that shows local gas prices and a gas calculator that will estimate how much money someone spends per year on gas based on their vehicle information. They also have “market tools” where one can look up their personal stocks, estimate a mortgage rate, or calculate loan rates on cars.

4. EntertainmentThe Palm Beach Post website includes an extensive entertainment section cleverly titled “pbpulse.” The page includes an event calendar, an archive of funny ecards that one can send to friends, and an interactive movie guide of local theaters. Pbpulse covers all corners of South Florida entertainment news and event listings, with headlines from music, movies, gossip, bars and clubs, TV, games, and arts and culture.

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