I may have chickened out of making any annual predictions in January — recessions, big merger threats, etc. but who knows, maybe I’ll throw some out there one of these days. If I weren’t such a coward, one of my themes would have been Re-Inventing the Network Online. Colleague Barry Parr illustrates some best practices on Web 2.0 networks for news organizations. This one’s a must-read.

Among the key findings:

– News publishers must treat content creation and distribution as separate businesses. Their destination sites should strive to be category portals by aggregating and integrating content and services from other sources.

– Widgets should be a key distribution strategy: Widget users are two-thirds more likely to use online news sources on a weekly basis than are overall online users.

– Publishers must transform themselves into platforms, supplying core interfaces, services, and revenue sharing to support a distributed ecosystem of partners.