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If Mark Cuban could change your sports section, here's what he'd do:

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by enigami, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Ten per cent?! 15 per cent?! I recall working with someone who had come from a decent sized daily which was family owned when he worked there. He said they aimed for eight per cent profit. Everything else after that was a bonus. Now, some papers are asking for 32 per cent profit margins!
  2. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    The mentality that newspapers are only struggling because of their public ownership is ludicrous.

    Newspapers everywhere are struggling, whether they are privately owned are publicly owned.

    Are those struggles exacerbated at publicly owned papers? Sure.

    But to blame it all on greedy corporate suits is to ignore the real problems plaguing the industry.

    Again, I'm not sure what DyePack's comment meant, but I'll say it again: nobody in this business knows how to properly market/promote/advertise the product.

    We need to pimp what we do well. We need to tell people WHY they should be reading newspapers.
  3. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    And then we need to keep doing everything possible to give them reasons every day not to do so.
  4. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    Report for the web.
    Quick news, nuts and bolts, changing story lines (trade discussions etc.)

    Write for the paper.
    Entertaining the reader, analysis, context, human interest
  5. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Couldn't agree more, for the umpteenth time. WHY won't ME's and publishers grasp this!?

    Oh, I know why!

    Management is TRYING to kill newspapers! Think of how much money they save if EVERYTHING is online. No pressman, no layout, no design, no cost of paper, delivery, etc.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    This has never worked. PM papers tried going less newsy and died anyway.
  7. I agree that we as an industry are going too far with the internet stuff. Marketing is the key now. We have to figure out what we do better and pimp that.

    I totally love Cuban's idea on how you don't write for the readers. You write for the product that you're hoping they'll enjoy and grow to love. All these fan stories are a perfect example of what is fucked up. How does that bolster any reader's "sports currency"?

    They want information. They can get opinions from the 100 other fans they know. Give the fans insight and scoop and yummy factual goodness they can't get from the TV schmoes. The internet guys are very good in some cases (Pat Forde in particular) but they have to write for a really wide audience. Us local peeps should be more relevant to the local readers ...
  8. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Frank - If you start looking at all portals -- web and print -- as "the newspaper," then it doesn't become a case of becoming "less newsy." We still provide the news, we just do it online. Then we use the space we have for the paper to provide context, insight, analysis. To flush it out. To give people a good read.

    Believe it or not, people want to be able to read an entire newspaper article. They want to sit down for a half hour, read the sports section front page to back page, and come away feeling informed, entertained and satisfied.

    Problem is, we aren't giving them a reason to do so.

    To me, "insight" is the key word.

    So few sports reporters know how to provide it. It is our role, first and foremost, to "educate" readers, to provide them with information and insight that they would not be able to get anywhere else.

    So few beat writers bring something to the table that the legions of information-saturated sports fans don't already know.
  9. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    someone on another thread posted a link to someone talking about how on the internet (yeah, and on blogs) they have license to call bullshit, which newspapers rarely do anymore.

    i think newspapers could save themselves if they became more niche oriented. it's a radical idea, but if it's done right, why can't, say, the st. paul pioneer press become the fiesty tabloid to the minneapolis star tribune's tweed-patches-on-the-elbow-snootiness? start calling all the bullshit that comes out of the mouths of public officials, athletes, coaches and celebrities and you'll make your product a must read.

    i know this is easier said than done but as a former journalist now on the outside looking in, i find certain kinds of journalism so much less relevant nowadays than i did when i was in the business.
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    For free. Chasing away paying customers from the paid product to the free product.

    As I said, this has never worked. It was tried extensively in the 1970s by PM papers and other No. 2 dailies in competitive markets. The newsy product always won -- always, without exception.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    A lot of journalists have a romantic notion about tabloids and tabloid-style journalism that somehow misses the fact that the only paid-circulation U.S. tabloid that has shown any growth in the past decade is the New York Post. Which did so by cutting its cover price in half in its primary market. And which still doesn't make a profit.

    And even if this style were to attract readers, there remains one enormous problem. And that is that these readers are not especially coveted by the kinds of advertisers that actually pay their bills without a collection agency getting involved. The perception is that tabloid readers are less intelligent and less successful than broadsheet readers. Now my personal opinion is that in 2006, anyone who buys and reads a daily newspaper, broadsheet or tabloid, is worthy of some respect because they make an effort that a lot of people won't. But advertisers don't see it that way. They want to advertise in the product that will enable them to reach people with discretionary money.
  12. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Right, but if you start looking at the net as part of the newspaper, you'd find that it's silly to be giving this content away for free.

    The notion that people won't pay for content online has some merit, but it's not completely true. Look at Rivals.com, at ITunes.com, at ESPN Insider. . .

    What we need to start doing is packaging our internet with our newspaper.

    You subscribe to the newspaper, and not only do you get the daily paper, you get access to our web coverage.

    Stop giving away content for free.

    It becomes like an ESPN Mag/Insider type of deal. Subscribe to one, you get the other.

    That's the future.
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