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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. enigami

    enigami Member

    But see, it is about the technology. The magazine operates on a 28-, 14- or 7-day cycle. The newspaper operates on a 24-hour cycle. The web has no such cycle. There are some stories that are going to be better suited for each. I don't think that means newspapers have to become "more magazine-y," it just means readers won't turn to the newspapers for breaking stories as they once did. What will they turn to papers for? To begin with, maybe the same regional expertise, nuanced writing, and gossip columns that Mark Cuban was talking about.

    That readers would have to pay for it in print, and not on the web, is a big problem, however.

    I confess I didn't know those basic nuggets about the business side of the Post and Daily News, Ridgeway. But you gotta admit, those papers are chock full of gossip and regional bias (the Post including the phrase "the hated Red Sox" in baseball ledes, for example, always takes me aback).
  2. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Some of the most memorable writing I've ever seen was on a bathroom wall. It wasn't necessarily good, but it was memorable. ;)
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    So what? They still aren't making much/any money. Why would we want to model ourselves after precarious businesses?
  4. DavidPoole

    DavidPoole Member

    Loved what Cuban had to say and agreed totally. Skimmed this thread and found it fascinating. From my perspective, I just can't see the benefits of thinking of newspapers, radio, television and the internet as separate entities. I think they're all delivery systems. We forget that the printed page or the web site or whatever is not our product. Our products are news, information, analysis, statistics and all of that. Our job is to get that to the customer -- the reader and the viewer and the listener -- the best way we can as fast as we can and in a way he enjoys it.
    When I get a piece of news or information I think NASCAR fans want to know, my thought is "How can I get this to them in a way that accurately conveys what it means." Sometimes that means writing 4-5 graphs immediately for our web site (thatsracin.com) and then going on a forum there and posting that in case somebody can see it before our web folks can get it posted on the site. Sometimes it means getting on the phone and working a story for several hours before writing a word. If I am on a radio show and something happens, I am going to tell people who're listening without trying to "sit on it" until I can get it posted on my website. If I do my job right, I can both inform people and let them know they can find out more about the story in my newspaper the next day.
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That has been the Kool-Aid for a decade now, and it has done nothing but hurt the newspaper and thus, by extension, the Web site (since the Web site gets almost all of its content from the ever-shrinking newspaper newsroom).

    This is similar to the situations we had in a lot of medium-size cities where one owner controlled both dailies (as opposed to a JOA) and decided that it made more economic sense to have the papers increasingly share stories. The two papers would thus become increasingly similar, so there became less and less reason for customers to buy both, and eventually one product would shrink to the point that the owner would say, screw it, we'll just combine and put out one product.

    When we make our Web sites basically an electronic version of the newspaper, not only are we undermining the newspaper by giving away its content for free, we are hurting the Web site by shackling it to an old technology rather than taking advantage of everything the Internet has to offer -- chiefly, a relatively inexpensive (and virtually unregulated) way to compete against TV and radio and make those media obsolete, not newspapers. We can offer live news and other live programming (talk shows) through streaming broadband that can be far more interactive and useful to customers than TV and radio. We need to get over the idea that the future of the Internet is as a reading experience. I think the future of the Internet will be primarily a watching/listening experience with the capability of instantly accessing increasingly complex layers of supplemental information in video, audio and text formats. By chaining the Web product to the newsprint product, we only hurt both.

    Neither should we be seeking "synergy" with TV/radio in our areas, but treat them instead like the competitors they are. We ought to be using the Net as a way of cutting into the TV and radio stations' business, not fragmenting our own. In other words, we ought to be aggressive, not passive, by not pigeonholing the Web site as a newspaper-centric product.
  6. enigami

    enigami Member

    I'm not insisting that we do. I just find it interesting that those two papers, similar in content and format, are uniquely in the black among the top 15 nationally in circulation. Maybe this is a misleading stat, you might be right. Or maybe we give the majority of our readers too much intellectual credit. I don't know.

    I see your point, but I think DavidPoole had it right when he said we're in the business of news/analysis/information distribution. The medium itself isn't our product. That's why I have a hard time seeing the Internet as being "shackled to an old technology." Often the best stories I read on the web originate from newspaper writers, not online reporters and bloggers. It doesn't really matter to the average Web surfer: Good, free reporting is good, free reporting. That said, news web sites will need original blueprints for content to succeed, they can't simply be lifted from newspapers anymore.

    "We," that is, the average daily, will only be able to do this when ad revenues allow it. Unfortunately, we're not there yet.

    I think this is even more true for sports than hard news (although Michael Richards and that taser-happy cop at UCLA might just prove you right). What's next, papers sending their own videographers down to the camera box so they can hyperlink the home run clip to the relevant passage in the story?
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Trust me, it is an extremely misleading stat. As I wrote before, the Daily News might have a tiny upward burp every now and then, but overall the trend has been decidely and drastically downward. And the Post is virtually giving away the paper at 25 cents in its primary market. If you want to make this point, you're going to have to find another example because you couldn't be more wrong about the tabs' "growth." It is a bloodbath. The Daily News was once the largest-circulation daily in American history, more than 2 million daily, almost 3 million Sunday. Now it is NYC's third-largest general-interest daily at just under 700K and the second-largest Sunday at 800K. The Post loses ridiculous amounts of money and would have died a long time ago if not for Rupert Murdoch wanting a toy in NYC.

    Of course it doesn't matter to the consumer, that's not the point. But it matters a hell of a lot to people who are trying to sell newspapers when the product they are trying to sell is being given away for free.

    We need to look at this as a capital investment, like new presses. Not that I think many papers will. But think of what we could charge for video advertisements that offer links to detailed product/dealer information. Or, say, a restaurant ad in which you click on a menu item and get a photo of the dish or video of it being prepared in the kitchen.

    I imagine that the video will become the main thing and the text supplementary, not vice versa.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    That's exactly it. Investing in better Web capabilities is a must for newspapers in the future.

    The Web site should supplement the newspaper with stuff that you can't put in the newspaper itself -- video, audio, digital graphics, digital ads, etc. -- not by repeating the newspaper's stories online.
  9. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Frank - The problem is that when people sit down at their computers, they aren't sitting down with the intent of watching something on a screen.

    90 percent of the time people spend on their computers is at work.

    I agree with your basic premise - that we can't simply make our web sites online versions of our newspapers. But your proposed business model is flawed beyond belief. Until people start turning to their computers as their No. 1 source of televised information, we'd be foolish to make the stuff you suggest a priority.

    We need to tailor the information we deliver on the internet toward the habits of those who actually use the internet: those five minutes of surfing in between conference calls, or the three minutes of commercials on TV, or the 20 minutes late at night immediately before they go to bed, or the 15 minutes after they wake up.
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I think you're shortsighted. Look at Youtube. Look at people following games live on the Net. Look at Webcasts of concerts. Look at streaming audio 24/7 by radio stations. Look at people gambling on line. The Web is hardly the brief, utilitarian tool you say it is. It is a huge source of entertainment for many millions of people who are as addicted to the Net in their off-hours as some people are to TV. I think the Net will make traditional televison obsolete long before it kills off newspapers -- although eventually I believe it will kill both.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I think in the future, the Net will kill off both (papers and TV) in the traditional, outdated models that we know them today.

    Broadcast networks have been losing ratings for a couple decades now. Newspapers have been losing circulation for at least as long.

    But in the future, everyone will have Internet access on their TVs (all in HD, of course). And everyone will be able to watch TV on their computers. And newspapers will become more and more digital entities -- some exclusively so -- instead of costly print editions.

    Advertising will be convertible to all those mediums, and eventually we will reach a balance where information can be quickly and widely distributed through a variety of devices, yet money still can be made for the companies that disseminate that information.

    The problem is how we get to that point without killing everything off in the meantime.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Oh, I forgot to mention porn. People don't watch that at work. Well, most people don't.
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