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Seriously, what if newspapers did this?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Your Huckleberry, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Just curious what you guys thought about this.

    It seems that since other Internet websites are taking all our stories and using them for their own gain, would it not stand to make sense that newspapers might benefit more by not having an Internet product at all?

    By not having a website, it forces readers to actually buy the printed version of the paper. It also forces people to see the advertising and it keeps freeloaders away. Also, if talk radio or television want to steal a story, they literally have to report from what is in the paper until they do their own work.

    I feel like we are getting ripped off by a lot of other medias for doing the time-consuming part of the work, yet we get no credit for it. If we make our product more exclusive and quit giving it away online for free, then maybe it can hold its own.

    Of course, ignoring the Internet might also contribute to the death of the newspaper.

    Any ideas on this suggestion? Too stupid?
  2. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Nobody will agree with you but if they take the time to think about it, you are EXACTLY RIGHT.
    People still want to read (they read books; they read magazines, they would read the paper in the scenario you describe). There's still a market for newspapers. It's been an effective sales job by Internet people (show me the ad sales Internet lovers) that has killed the newspaper business.
    It's too late to do what you say but you are so right.
  3. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    I've been saying for years we're idiots for giving our stuff away basically for free. At least our place does.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I think we ought to charge other news organizations and Web sites for using our stuff. It is copyrighted.
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Think for a moment how your media consumption habits would change just as a reader.

    There would be no links. No links to start threads on SJ. No links to send your family and friends. No links for blogs to use to quickly provide background. No way to log onto a site and then click around because another story caught your eye. No way to check the HS football score from your hometown 3,000 miles away.

    Yes, I realize it was like this 20 years ago. But you can't just "go back" -- too much has changed.

    Without links, I'd never read the New York Times. Or the really great story from the really small paper in Wisconsin, or the great columnist from the paper in Kansas City. There's no way I could "subscribe" to my hometown rag 3,000 miles away.

    Sure, I might buy a copy of the local rag and the nearby major metro, but maybe not. I've grown too accustomed to NOT having a newspaper in my home. I might not miss it. And I'm one of the biggest journalism nerds around.

    But I would miss my links.
  6. Out of sight, out of mind. Newspapers need to figure out a way to make money off the Internet, but pulling your product off the 'net entirely would be the quickest way to ensure the business' death.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Google gives away all its stuff for free and seems to be doing OK.
  8. Ohiowriter

    Ohiowriter Member

    Here is the thing, haven't we always sorta given it away?

    Most newspapers charge less than 50 cents a day for home delivery. Considering the cost of newsprint, ink, transportation, and labor we are basically giving away the content for free in print, too. With current gas prices, there is no way that 37 or 42 cents or whatever covers what it costs to deliver all those papers. At best you break even, or free.

    In reality, the overhead cost of putting information on the Internet is dramatically lower than putting it in print. Then again, the ad rates and market is more diversified and smaller, too. What we have now is shrinking but it doesn't mean it isn't viable.

    But that isn't what works on Wall Street or in board rooms, getting smaller. Especially when those great profits for decades turned the industry into a few giant media companies that in a capitalist society are beholden to balance sheets and quarterly earnings rather than public service/customers.
  9. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Here's my idiotic idea, inspired by the growth of Netflix...

    • Newspapers charge for print subscription as usual
    • With print subscription, customer receives user name and password to online site
    • In addition, subscriber also receives free online access to every other paper owned by company

    For instance, if you subscribed to the Des Moine Register (Gannett), you would receive access to USA Today, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Honolulu Advertiser, Arizona Republic and hundreds of other newspapers/specialty Web sites.

    Not sure what the market value would be on that, particularly if every other newspaper company continued to give away their product for free online. Obviously, in a perfect world, there'd be a way for a company to step in and control the online access of ALL newspapers across the country.

    I click NY Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News and the Denver Post every day. It's become a habit, a part of my life. And of course, I'm constantly clicking on others as they are linked or e-mailed to me.

    If I were forced to pay a subscription fee to view the above sites, I would.
  10. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    The Internet - just like newspapers - is based on an advertising model. The key is for Internet ads to equal newspaper ads, which hopefully one day will happen, because newspapers are losing a lot of $$ in ads to the 'net (i.e. classifieds).
  11. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    I think more likely would be to just quit printing the print edition altogether, saving billions in printing presses, people to run 'em, trucks to deliver the papers, etc.

    Then you could maybe make money on just the advertising part online.

    (By the way, the ad on the bottom of this page I'm currently looking at is for the Newspaper Obituary Archive. For a second, I thought it meant dying newspapers, not dying people. Funny.)
  12. azzurri

    azzurri New Member

    Newspapers would be wise to forge a relationship with cable providers. In exchange for free advertising, companies like Cox, Comcast or Time Warner could include the local paper as part of their cable packages. That way circulation could remain high and so would advertising rates.

    With the emergence of Verizon Fios and the growth of satellite television, cable companies are in a more competitive marketplace and thus need a competitive advantage. A partnership between the cable company and newspaper would be mutually beneficial.
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