The first thing I noticed was a Google maps mashup that showed the location of the events documented. This is a brilliant use of the web's graphical ability to add information to an online story that is missing from its print counterpart. This is especially important as the original story was sourced from AAP - which will also be selling it to News' competitors.
Zooming out on the map I worked out that the crime took place in a part of Melbourne that is close to the location of some of my family. This is something I would never have guessed from the suburb names alone and adds value to the story that I might not have received from other news websites (or their RSS feed).
The other nice feature that News have included, is a box at the bottom of the story to allow readers to submit the story to one of three major news and link collation sites. This helps boost their readership numbers, and adds potentially higher value to advertisers as it promotes the global 'reach' of the News.com.au brand.
The Fairfax guys running SMH.com.au are no slouches in the web design arena, but I suspect that the News Limited approach is also inspired by the boss's thoughts about the web:
“To find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of mass media – which, incidentally, is what really destroyed the old world of kings and aristocracies. Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it's the people who are taking control.”EDIT: The News guys also have a nice 'Tools' feature on every page now, highlighting their commitment to both RSS feeds and getting user-generated content.
Rupert Murdoch talking to Wired