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What should we do? Very serious question..

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by jason_whitlock, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    I don't know if it's like this in other places (it probably is), but my paper has been ahead of Rivals in almost everything correspondent to what Rivals does. In fact, they've called us for information after our stories have run. So it's not like these guys are all ahead of us on the curve. A lot of their shit they are getting initially from newspapers, and they just have the time and wherewithal to expand on that.
  2. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    I think one of the keys for newspapers is finding your hook and charging extra for that.I see newspapers not going the route of needing a subscription to access any news story on the website, but rather something similiar to ESPN.com or NYTimes.com. You want the latest stuff from the AP wire, your most basic of news/gamers and any local news that breaks before the next day's paper comes out, it will be free. But you create content above-and-beyond the basics and charge for that. In sports, I think you create specialized content for your big-time teams and charge for that. There is no reason that Boston papers should not have special pay Red Sox content and I can rattle off a ton of examples off the top of my head of other papers who either are already doing this or should follow suit (Milwaukee and the Packers, Indianapolis and the Indiana basketball, Birmingham and Alabama football, Dallas and Cowboys/UT football, St. Louis and the Cardinals, Kansas City and the Chiefs, etc.) Why is Rivals so successful? Because they give the hardcore fan the deluge of information that they want. We aren't filling that deluge and taking advantage of that fan's desire to read anything and everything he/she can about their team. WSJ is the Rivals.com of the business world. You don't read the WSJ for the lifestyles section. Their readers want national news, incredibly in-depth business reporting and incredibly conservative editorials and are willing to pay for the level of detail WSJ brings to the table.

    You make the pay content free to anyone with a hard-copy subscription or a reasonable price otherwise. Any news story of high interest, you saturate your paid-content website with (special election coverage, extra in-depth coverage of the big murder trial, BLOGS!, etc.) and promote the hell out of your paid-content section in the hard copy edition. The papers that get left in the dust are ones like my old paper, where the only reason it succeeds is because it's there. The only reason to read that paper is that it is pretty much the only paper of record within a 50-mile radius and you can't go anywhere else. There is no one overwhelming team/story, sports or news, that you can point to and say, "If we saturate the hell out of that, readers will come running." Like every other newspaper, they will eventually have to create paid website content, there just won't be anything there that people really want to pay for.
  3. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Knoxville's Vols coverage comes the closest to what you are describing.
  4. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    One reason the Packers and Cowboys pay sites on newspapers do well/exist is there is a big following of these teams outside the immediate reading area. Minnesota tried a Vikings pay site - not so much luck. Atlanta tried with their columnists, then I guess realized no one is from Atlanta and cares about the hometown teams. ;) :) (It's also a reason the Wall Street Journal can charge - they don't have a home base, per se ... and offer very specific content)

    Of course, I guess if a paper/site put A LOT into a pay site, then it might be worth people's whiles.

    My two cents at least, if it's worth even that.
  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Can someone quantify how successful Rivals is?

    I mean, c'mon. They're supposedly good at tossing names out there, but then this little thing called facts gets in the way. On my beat, they have a batting average of about .150 in terms of getting recruits pinned down, they've managed to get exactly one name out there who eventually signed.

    If the industry is worried about that, we're fucked for a whole different reason.
  6. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Newspapers are general content media. That's why people don't want to pay for online subscriptions. They offer a broad range of topics and information, but not the kind of specialized content people with a serious interest in a topic are looking for.
    Rivals.com and, too a lesser extent, the WSJ are more specialized content.
  7. Trucha

    Trucha Member

    This doesn't seem that complicated. Just do what you can do better than anybody in the world. If you build that, readers will come.

    A paper in Philly or Minny can't cover the NBA Finals better than ESPN or the hometown papers of the teams participating, but they can be the best at telling they're readers what's going on in Minny and Philly in a way that nobody else does it.

    It seems to me that too many of us our hung up on what WE want our sections to be ... not what our READERS want our sections to be.
  8. That's pretty profound stuff. Nice post, newbie.
  9. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The future for major metros are free tabs with stripped down wire content, and extremely short local stories. Also known as the commuter tab.
    A full service broadsheet will be available for rack sales and subscriptions. The power elite will read the broadsheet and will be a valuable product for advertisers since it hits the high-income demogaphic.
    The tab will basically be for commuters and the ad product will be tailored as such. Both products will do very well financially.
    One example is what the Washington Post is already doing.
    Content-wise, the broadsheet will focus on news, politics, biz and pro and college sports. With a smattering of others mixed in. It will mostly be commentary, analysis, features and agate. the tab will be preps, with chopped down versions of everything else and probably no agate.
    The online product will mirror the print products with the free site being very basic and the high-end, which comes with a subscription, will be fully-powered beast.
    The hand-wringing will be in the major markets that used to have four or five papers serving the area and those vanish as the NYTimes and WashPost climb up the credibility scale.
    Metros outside the top 40 markets or the ones that don't have public transportation commuters, will continue on as they have. You'll see more content sharing among companies as they pool resources. Coverage of non-local events that don't have a local angle will vanish. Circulation will erode, but as long as they hit the high income population, it will still be successful.
    Newsrooms will make huge cuts in travel budgets, outside of a few key beats. A new wire service(S) will pop up or the AP will adjust to provide localized content for various papers.
    Websites will focus on exclusive local content, and will transition to paid as the content becomes tighter and more focused to the junkies -- sports or political. So you will still see some of the big enterprise and investigative stuff, you'll just have to pay for it.
    Some jobs will be lost along the way as some of the technology catches up. Go check your backshop and see if you have anyone that still pours hot lead.
  10. House

    House Guest

    Society in general is to blame for the loss of readership. I shit you not, my wife and her friends couldn't give two fucks what happened in the world other than what happened on Big Brother All-Stars and Project Runway. Doesn't matter if the Middle East breaks out into World War III and Bush has to draft to keep troop numbers high. Just make sure to not bother them while those assholes in that house play for an immunity token or whatever the hell they do.

    When I want to watch the news for a bit, she leaves the room or tries to nap.

    I've accepted that we're mostly a society of sheep. Sure, there are enlightened people like us who bust our asses and shake our heads at what we see, but for the most part, society doesn't care if the news doesn't affect their lives directly.

    All I can say is to find a good trade. Our jobs won't be here forever.
  11. MertWindu

    MertWindu Active Member

    House, there have been people like that forever. Some people will just never give a damn about the things outside their own universe. The problem is that the other half of the public, the newshounds, doesn't go to newspapers anymore. The medium will die because of that. Print has a future in magazines, because there's something about having all that good journalism in a portable, non-powered format. But the newspaper is now no more valuable than the internet, and usually less because it's dated. The thing is, it might be time for us all to stop distinguishing between "print" and "online," because "online" is going to swallow up what we consider "print" very rapidly. There's still a need for good journalism, but because that's been lacking on the internet for a long time, things like blogs and rumor pages have thrived. Once the kind of visionary, dogged reporters start going straight to online, the quality will rise. Newspapers will die as they are, but be reborn as online publications.
  12. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I'm not convinced most people use the Net as a main news source. Maybe for scores and box scores. I still think TV is the main news source for immediate info. The Net is the main source for chat, games and porn. What's getting newspapers in trouble are a demand for too-high profit margins, and trying to be something they're not to draw the 18-25-year-olds that were never their bread and butter.

    And even if newspapers become Net papers, who really loses their jobs, besides those in the printing and delivery processes? Some page designers, perhaps. I mean, you still need copy editing and headline writing, and reporting, and images. And since it becomes a 24-hour cycle for a paper, more copy editors and reporters will probably be need.
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