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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. statrat

    statrat Member

    I think Newspapers are rapidly ceding breaking news and feature stories to the net. Readers are not going to wait until the next day to read the paper for breaking news. If a coach is fired on Tuesday morning, readers are not going to wait until Wednesday to see what the paper says about it, they are going to check the net. Internet news sources, like ESPN.com are moving into the features world, and anyone who does not want to scroll through it can simply print it out. The newspaper industry needs to start thinking of a workable advertising and subscription model for the net, because the sooner we can get away from the dinosaur that is print news, the sooner the newspaper will become relevent again in a 24-hour news cycle. Do have the answers on how to do that? No. I'm a writer not an advertising executive. But even I can see the age of the printed paper is dying. How painful a death depends on if we learn to make a workable business model for a transition to the net.
  2. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Yes, and if I'm not mistaken, Yahoo! reported a downturn in ad revenue last quarter, which was the first time in its history.

    And, if I'm not mistaken, google isn't a newspaper. Nor is it attracted former newspaper advertisers - at least not on the national level.
  3. Apex

    Apex Member

    Breaking news events used to be completely the domain of TV. When something was going down, people turned on the TV. Newspapers need to focus on getting that breaking news on their website as quickly as possible and updating frequently. When people discover that they can get up-to-the-minute information from the newspaper, they will abandon the repetitive TV coverage. And when people get used to getting breaking news from the newspaper, they will want to get the follow-up stories and analysis from the paper too. Content drives sales.
  4. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    The other thing we need to take into account is advertising.

    Newspapers were always that rare product that people would buy simply FOR the advertising.

    Now, not so much.

    Problem is, we need to come up with creative ways to secure advertising dollars, and we're not doing it.

    Nobody in the 'Net generation buys a paper when they are looking for a car, or a place to rent. They go to Craig's List, or the newspaper's online searchable classifieds.

    Here's the shame:

    All of these platforms that are cutting into our ad sales -- Ebay, Craig's List, Rent.com -- are things that newspapers easily could have invented themselves.

    Here's the hope:

    It's still early enough to get in the game. There are a lot of downsides to Craig's List, to Rent.com, to many of these places that are sapping away our advertising dollars. The huge advantage that we have over most of these other sites is our resources, and our market penetration.

    For example, every paper should have a Craig's List-type classified web page. And that paper should then sell the shit out of the ad space on said web page.
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member


    Not true. Radio Margaritaville is still out there ... somewhere between the Port of Indecision and Southwest of Disorder. But it's not all-Jimmy anymore; it also plays music Jimmy likes.


    Also on Sirius 31.

  6. enigami

    enigami Member

    Great thread, people. Almost as many opinions as posters, pretty reflective of the infinite philosophies the industry is taking to curb our woes. Also reflective, I think, of the fact the technology is in transition. Newspapers and their web sites might be different products right now, but I can't wait for the day when I can get breaking news about my teams sent directly to my iPod. (Probably a wealthier segment of the population already enjoys this luxury, but alas...) That breaking story won't just be going to the iPod- and PDA-holders walking around the streets and sitting in board meetings, but also to the web sites, for people sitting at their computers. Whichever "newspaper" drops the best story the soonest, consistently, will offer the best product and conceivably, profits will follow. That's the future (IMHO).
    In that sense, I don't think you can cite the decades-old decline of the PM newspaper as a reason not to concentrate your "depth stories" in print and your breaking stories online. At the time PM newspapers were competing with AMs, the technology was equivalent: an inky stack of sheets on your doorstep. The web and its cousin, the podcast, are different beasts altogether. It's going to take some time for each medium to find its niche. Until this shakes out, I don't think newspapers are going to know how to advertise themselves the best. That's where we're at right now.
    Cuban has some good ideas. Especially the sports gossip column -- is it no coincidence that NY Post and Daily News ciruclations are uniquely in the black?
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Technology isn't the point. The point is that there isn't a sufficient market for a "soft" newspaper. There wasn't in the 1970s, and there will be even less of a market for it in the Internet age. Opinion writing and analysis are free and easy to come by on the Net -- and the degree of specialization is such that no general-interest newspaper could possibly compete. Also, if we make our Web sites about breaking news and the newsprint product about "depth" -- well, it's not like a Web site can't offer in-depth coverage; in fact a Web site is better equipped to offer depth because it isn't limited by the price of newsprint and press configurations. I think it is no mistake that the free daily tabloids that have popped up over the past decade have chosen to emphasize news in very brief form rather than long, weighty pieces.

    Well, that's really not true about the two tabs. Over a six-month reporting period the Daily News sometimes has shown an ability to rebound by a few thousand copies and "grow," but it never quite catches up with the heavy losses of the previous six-month report to the ABC. Over the past 12 years, the DN has shrunk from 800K daily to 700K -- and that's on top of much more massive losses over the two decades before that. Over the past dozen years, the Post's circulation has climbed from about 400K to 700K -- but to do it the Post had to slash prices dramatically in its primary market, a move that allowed it to overtake the News in daily circulation but that has cost many millions of dollars on a paper that wasn't making a profit even before this extremely expensive giveaway. I don't think you can make a rational case for either paper being a successful business that others ought to emulate. No traditional newspaper company would want to own either. The News survives only because Mort Zuckerman is willing to accept a 4 percent profit margin, and the Post survives only because Rupert Murdoch is willing to subsidize humongous losses in order to have a conservative mouthpiece in the nation's largest city.
  8. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    But you have to look at the way people use each medium.

    Generally, when someone sits down to read a paper, or a magazine, or a book, they are open to spending a decent amount of time engrossed in said product.

    Whereas when they are on the internet, generally it isn't in a situation in which they are looking to spend a large amount of time on one story.
  9. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    *Day after desker forgets to post sports section online yet again*

    Caller: Where were the sports stories on your Web site?
    Me: Just a technical problem. All of our stories are in the print edition. Do you subscribe?
    Caller: No, I don't subscribe. I don't want to pay for them. That's why I read it online.
    Me: If you chose to not buy the product, that's not my problem.

    Now, is it my problem? Yes. Out of frustration, what I said months ago is highly inacurrate after having time to think about it.

    I still say it's our collective problem that we gave away our product for free for so long that people just expect it now. A low price of 50 cents per day and maybe $1.50 on Sunday doesn't seem like a lot when people buy $4 coffee every morning, but I never underestimate this society's will to be cheap bastards when it thinks it's entitled to something.

    The content is a variable that has to be considered market-to-market. Having both onilne and print are a viable solution because just pikcing one and sticking with it won't satisfy everyone.

    But convincing people to pay for it when culture has taught them not to will be tough to crack.
  10. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Couldn't agree more. Not to mention, when you give something away, you devalue it.

    I worked for a start-up magazine that BEGAN giving away it's product and then tried to charge once management thought people were "hooked."

    Belly up in two months. No one subscribe and called and complained "but it was free." And in the next breath said "I loved your magazine."
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That's not what our market surveys tell us about newspapers -- all we hear is that they are pressed for time. Anyway, history tells us that a magazine approach to newspapering doesn't work. Ever. Journalists would like to believe it will because it would be more fun for them. But it doesn't. That's not what readers expect or want from us.
  12. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    i don't know about the rest of the world, but i'll read good, informative writing anywhere -- on the Web, on paper, on my cell phone, on a bathroom wall. there's a market for good writing.
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