Web Publishing Roll-Up: Year 2009 in Review

4 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar

As we head into the final weeks of 2009, let’s look back at the year in web publishing. See how some trends emerge and others merely fade away.


GlobalPost shook things up when it partnered with Mochila to launch a new website. As world news bureaus closed, GlobalPost was able to deliver world news on location thanks to 60 freelance correspondents in more than 40 countries.

Other notables: Self-publishing gains writers, newspapers gained more online readers, but will it translate into more revenue?


The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism launched the New Media Index, which tracks over 100 million blogs and 250 million social media outlets. Will blogs ever be mainstream?

Other notables: The W3C released a report on the future of social networking, which said that opportunity abounds when closed communities open up. The New York Times released an API that opens up access to every article the paper has written since 1981 -- all 2.8 million of them. The move was an indication of things to come for the changing face of online newspapers.


The New York Times launched The Local, a citizen journalism site focused on local communities. Tim Armstrong replaced Randy Falco as chairman and CEO of AOL.


The Associated Press announced it would police the Web, track down content that is being used illegally and threaten lawsuits if others-- namely Google -- don’t stop using their content.


The 2009 Women in Social Media Study reported that women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites.

Other notables: Klatcher.com launched v2.0, which allows authors to self-publish anything online from words to a rich media publication and start selling their best content.


The New York Times goes into free fall, says cutbacks and layoffs are imminent. Rupert Murdoch says the future of newspapers is digital. New York Times hires a Social Media Editor.


The New York Times makes Kindle readers pay for content, while iPhone users read it for free. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project poll, more Americans go online for their political news than ever before.

Other notables: The AP launches a digital-permissions framework to monitor each time a blogger uses AP materials.


CMSWire investigates whether Twitter is killing newspapers. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) look to ban Flash Trading and in the process, demonize real-time web robots.

Learning Opportunities

Other notables: MSNBC acquires EveryBlock, reports news from hometowns without actually being there.


Google Labs releases Fast Flip, a web application that combines the qualities of print and the web, with the ability to "flip" through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine.

Other notables: Journalists are replaced by social media bots. The Wall Street Journal charges readers for access to their mobile reader.


The Federal Trade Commission makes bloggers who offer endorsements disclose any payments they have received. Online advertising revenue continues to decline despite newspapers’ attempts to attract more than 74 million monthly unique visitors in the third quarter of 2009. Magazine layoffs persist.


Rupert Murdoch wants to remove his papers’ content from Google's search index, giving full access (for a fee) to Microsoft’s Bing search engine and encourages other big time publishers to do the same.

Other notables: CMSWire shows you how to blog from your phone. Google acquires AdMob.


Google's FeedBurner RSS feed automatically publishes to Twitter. WordPress blogs post to and read from Twitter apps. Editor & Publisher stops publishing. More magazine, newspapers layoff imminent.

Web Publishing in 2010?

It's anyone's guess, but based on what happened this year, blogs may get bigger as online newspapers continue to disappear or get smaller. With many unemployed, 2010 may turn out to be a perfect storm for citizen journalism outlets and innovative strategies to promote online content. We'll see. Stay tuned.