The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA found an interesting way to use Google Maps and reader participation with its Storm Stories page on its Web site.
Readers are encouraged to submit their photos, videos and comments about the recent 12 inches of snow they received.
Colin Mulvany, the Review's new multimedia editor, wrote about it in the paper's blog, Mastering Multimedia.
This is a fun way to involve the readers and drive traffic to newspapers' Web sites. It also helps to build that sense of community for the readers as many of the comments submitted gave thanks to helpful neighbors. This is an important asset to newspapers since a sense of community is part of what draws readers to pick up a newspaper. But in this case, it will draw them to the Web site.
Combining multimedia and reader participation is definitely a wise way to go. As Mulvaney points out, there may not be hoards of comments (only 60 at the time of this posting) but it could gain popularity as the word spreads and has the potential for different uses in the future.