The Merits of ‘Week in Reviews’

Week in Review Columns Can Prove Effective for Both You and the Reader

The idea of a Week in Review is certainly not original, but it can be very effective.

“Numerous publishers, including our, are having success with a Week in Review e-letter,” wrote Phil Ash, publisher, Capitol Information Group, on a recent SIPA online forum.”The format is typically five headlines and teasers representing the single topic stories that ran Monday through Friday. In our case, the WIR goes out on Friday and covers the Monday through Thursday stories while also running a Friday ‘story’ that’s really a link to a sales letter landing page.”

Key for Ash is that the open rates for the WIR edition “are the same as those for our single-topic editions. The click-throughs are much higher since we don’t include the full article in the WIR but do in the other dailies. And the Friday story is our best sales driver. There are numerous other variations on this strategy that we have tested and will continue to test. But this is working well for us now.”

At The Oregonian, Portland’s daily newspaper, a Week in Review for its “Silicon Forest” business section also goes out on Friday. Reporter Mike Rogoway does a great job not only summarizing his articles for the week, but adding columns he calls “Noted and Notable” and “On My Calendar.” In the latter, he is able to promote more things that he is working on. In last Friday’s column, he wrote, “The last wafer comes off the line at Intel’s Fab 20 in Hillsboro on Saturday. I’ll have an article on the shutdown, and the fab’s future, in Sunday’s paper.” And then he finishes with a tagline to encourage reader feedback: “What did I miss? Lemme know (or send me a tweet).”

At O’Reilly, a site billed as “Spreading the Knowledge of Technology Innovators,” the Week in Review incorporates a bit of everything: conference promotion, videos and comments. Writer Alex Howard credits his post to another writer: “Taking a page straight from Mark Coddington’s excellent week in review at the Nieman Journalism Lab, my inaugural Radar post looks at government 2.0 news from the past week. If you have news and tips about the government 2.0 space, please let me know at or @digiphile on Twitter.

Online Week in Review columns can accomplish several tasks:

  • Save you time because you are just linking to previous content (although you still may have to summarize a bit and come up with some new heads);
  • Save the reader time because it will allow him or her another way to view your content;
  • Prove extremely helpful to members, customers and readers – WIRs are easy to read and let readers get right to what they want to read;
  • Give you another way to promote your newsletter, Webinar, white paper, etc.
  • They can be fun to do, a nice change – you’re writing in a succinct style that may be a little different, or more familiar, than the rest of the week.

WIR’s can actually accomplish one more task – look very impressive. Take a glance at this one from HPCwire. Looks like they were really working hard that week!

If you know of some more interesting Week in Review columns, please send them in to me, and I’ll do a Part 2 at a later date. Oops, gotta go. Time to work on tomorrow’s piece.


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