The Providence Journal's new website, providencejournal.com, is up and running. And if the aim is to drive people back to the more profitable print product, well, it just might succeed.
As expected, the site offers brief versions of basic news events, some video, reader polls, and other do-dads for free. Full versions of the paper's stories will be available via an e-edition of the Journal, which is free for the moment but will soon reside behind a paywall, available only to those who subscribe to the print product or pay a separate fee for the e-edition. No word, yet, on pricing.
The e-edition is, more or less, a pdf of the paper. And it looks, frankly, amateurish. Something you might have seen on the web 10 years ago - or something that a smaller paper might offer up now. Indeed, it looks a lot like the e-edition offered up by the Newport Daily News.
The free providencejournal.com site, cast in blue tones, is a bit more attractive than the old projo.com and seems a bit more interactive. But it will not win any design awards. And at first glance, there is nothing all that new and interesting - spunky blogs, reporter-to-camera video - to drive traffic.
This is not the site of a paper that is making a serious investment in the web. And that would seem problematic long term. But in a small market, with few alternatives, driving people back to the print product may not be a bad short-term strategy. We'll see if it works soon enough.