these local newspapers to do this is that they do not have the technical expertise to
make a good news site themselves. Also outsourcing their site to VilaWeb helps
them to deal with potential organisational problems when offering an online version
of their newspaper. Moreover, as VilaWeb says since we are one of the major
websites in Catalunya, being with us gives them a bigger audience than they could
have with their own websites.
At the core of all content produced by VilaWeb is its notion of information proximity,
i.e. localised information that is close to the daily concerns of users, in their own
language. It is thought that proximity is the basis of user interest in VilaWeb. The
local editions contribute to the feeling of proximity. Another example of proximity is
that e mail addresses are offered to people in Catalunya that contain the name of
the city they live in (your_name@your_city.villaweb.com, e.g. vicent.partal@barcelona.
vilaweb.com). It enables people to demonstrate clearly in which city or town they
live. This again contributes to maintaining the brand.
6.4. Content consumption process
The Internet based journalism promoted by VilaWeb implies a conception of its
users as being empowered. Journalists can no longer simply transfer facts or
statements in a mechanical way. They do not report the news extensively but
indicate where the news is and where the different sources for the news are to be
found. In contrast with traditional journalism, the idea is that the users are equipped
to read the sources for themselves and to interpret the information directly.
Moreover, by offering interesting and up to date links, it is believed that users come
back regularly to the VilaWeb sites.
A company survey of its user base confirms that VilaWeb users are loyal, according
to Vicent Partal, but also that their socio demographic profile is different from the
average Internet user. VilaWeb users are comparatively older or middle aged.
People discover us later, first they go to the big portals and then they come to us.
They are also more experienced Internet users because they have used the Internet
an overage for at least a few years.
Today, VilaWeb attracts about 500,000 unique visitors a month, which gives it 13th
place among online newspapers in Spain. It is the first net native Spanish
newspaper, however, and one of the major web destinations in Catalunya, according
to data from the official Spanish Institute for measurement of media audiences
VilaWeb argues that it stays close to its users through its focus on the Catalan
community and the localised information it provides although global events are
reported as well. The local editions bring VilaWeb as close as possible to its users;
you cannot get closer. These editions are very important for the success of VilaWeb.
It increases the number of our users. They find all the local information there, but
also have access to information on events happening anywhere in the world.
It also argues that user participation is encouraged via forums and chat rooms.
Users can start their own Internet clubs on topics that interest them and participate
in regularly published polls as well. Users can ask well known personalities (e.g.
mayors, ministers, sports people, etc.) questions in weekly public chat sessions.
Users can also e mail VilaWeb. About 200 300 emails are received everyday. They
can go directly to the technical people, for instance, when people raise technical