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More on the future of newspapers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Be sure not to forget:

    8 ) count up all the things I have to do
    9 ) complain to all present about how overworked I am
  3. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    The Yahoos and the Googles of the world have proven you can make money via free electronic site supported by advertisement dollars. There's no reason to think that newspapers couldn't go that same route, and eliminate the paper distribution, especially if every man, woman and child is got a blackberry in hand. And don't laugh--we used to send letters instead of e-mails.

    There's also the social aspect of the newspaper that needs to be considered. People sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper, sharing stories, "did you see this/that?". Can that translate into a solely electronic format? It certainly hasn't yet, and I still that social aspect continuing, even in the younger, wired generation.

    There will always be the need for news to be delivered--the dynamic will be what news gets delivered by a local outlet and what gets delivered nationally. Will readers need their national news from a local outfit or will cnn.com do? Same can be said for sports and espn.com, sportsline.com, etc. Will the local newspaper be focused on exactly that--the local scene specifically?

    Certainly don't have a crystal ball with the answers, but i would hazard a guess that the newspaper industry could see one of the greatest transformations of any industry over the next 10-20 years.
  4. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    I did steps eight and nine after steps one through seven were done and the paper was put to bed. So eight and nine have no bearing on the quality of stuff I put out.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Well taken. That's what we need more of 'round here. ;)
  6. scribe21

    scribe21 Member

    May take: Not all people are built the same. One may prefer one story over another. Honestly. I think we are killing ourselves with an overemphasis on "local content" To reach all, every newspaper, with the exception of a weekly, should have a variety of content. Look at Wal-Mart, everything in one place. People don't have time to gather news from two or three differrent sources. Offer everything in your publication and give them a reason to skip the others. Not everyone wants to read about John Henry's 25 points in a high school game. Tell them about Kobe scoring 60 when they were sleeping. Mix it up. ... I work for a PM daily. ...
  7. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Good point, scribe. We seem to hammer home local, local, local, but I don't give a rat's ass about the local NFL team. I'm more of a national sports fan, and I want something besides overkill of the local team.
  8. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    I think some newspapers try so hard to lure in the young non-reader, they forget their base. More older people read newspapers and even if they didn't grow up that way, there's reason to believe that as people age, the may be more likely to read a newspaper, because they do have a greater need for local content, such as city taxes, school systems, real estate market, etc. One of the problems is we seem to lose focus on things that affect our average readers, alienating them from reading the paper, in an attempt to snare "young, hip" readers. Newspapers should realize 20-year-olds aren't going to get the newspaper to read one fashion story someone did or a commentary on rap music, with all the other media out there geared towards that, but a 50-year-old who has been in that community for decades might get the newspaper to see what the city council is doing or to read fascinating and informative features about people and or things within his community. I've heard many older readers say they are no longer getting the paper because they feel it isn't geared towards them – and they are precisely who are most likely to read it.
  9. scribe21

    scribe21 Member

    I agree. That's why I preach variety. ... That's what we have at church every Sunday and that's what we see in our society. The minister connects to the congregation, whether it be young, old or somewhere in between. Can't newspapers do the same thing? I think it can be done.. ...
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I agree. One-stop shopping, a complete product. Largely that's how our readers live their lives.

    We need to get over this idea that we must avoid certain content because other media can do it, too. Do most readers care enough about the news that they are:

    A.) willing to go to multiple sources for the information they want?

    B.) so unwilling to wait until morning that they check Web sites late into the evening for the latest updates?

    C.) unwilling to get their national/international news from us when they need us anyway for the local news?

    My first daily was a 17K in my hometown when I was in high school. It ran very little news from outside the rural county. People nicknamed us "The Farmers' Almanac" because it acted as if the outside world did not exist. While I was working there, the lead headline on A-1 for like 12 out of 14 days was about the Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC in our headlines). In the summer we featured many photos of grinning local residents holding unusually large vegetables (I got your giant zucchini right here, honey!). Everybody bought us, but ...

    Flash forward 30 years. The county is now suburbia. Population has increased 50 percent. Newspaper circulation has decreased. Newcomers want a "real newspaper." The metro started a small bureau and sells a lot of copies there. People want local, but they want more than that, and they don't want to be treated like yokels.
  11. scribe21

    scribe21 Member

    Interesting point on the circulation decrease. The other day there was a major fire in our state that happened over night killed 10 people. It was buried on page 3, maybe three or four inches. We are a PM and had the story first off the wire. Instead, there is an A1 story about a guy who bought a $62,000 truck. Guess what the lead story was in the "major metro" in the neighboring county was the NEXT day? You guessed it. The fire story. Thought that was interesting. ... Saved our paper that day and the metro the following day.
  12. boots

    boots New Member

    I'm curious to see what your paper had for the lead story the following day. The fire story fell in your lap but did you kick the metro's ass with an outstanding follow up piece?
    That's why newspapers are dropping in circulation. I'm not picking a bone at your paper but in general, newspapers can't beat the internet, TV and radio. We have to go more in depth and deliver angles that those mediums only dream about.
    We have to to adapt or die. Right now, I feel like we are dying.
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