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2 Big Myths that are Killing Newspapers

newspapers (Tehrān)

From a post I found over at SimsBlog with some really good thoughts:

…is how journalists “spent nearly a century denying responsibility and involvement in business decisions”.

The result of this siloed newsroom is that a large chunk of the organization has no real understanding of how the business works.

That is a very real idea.  In fact, I think they are still running from the business end today.

But let’s not let the advertising department off the hook!

The Big Advertising Department Myth: We sell eyeballs

Not really.

Eyeballs are about mass and placement in the form reader demographics, circulation numbers, lines, columns, colour and position requests.

What advertising departments actually sell is connection and context that lead to sales results.

The article has more interesting information, but it really talking about as newspapers are making excuses and fussing…it’s time to take some responsibility.

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Why paywalls won't help most big newspapers

Talking To A Brick Wall
Image by Joriel “Joz” Jimenez via Flickr

The paywall discussion is in full force at my job (Gazette Communications) and my buddy and I were discussing the idea of adding a paywall to our electronic edition yesterday at lunch.  Funny – as the exact same thing we were talking about was pointed to in this Boing-Boing post:

The critical point here is that advertising is still what makes money for news, even when there’s a cover charge. Paywalls aren’t just sold to readers. They must be sold to advertisers. Paid walls make the eyeballs behind them much more valuable.

It will just be very interesting to see how long the paywall phenomenon lasts – i may well be a short term solution, but the problem is a super long term one.

To succeed with paywalls, then, publishers need not only an established monopoly on something valuable (local news, scoops, reporting quality) but also a plan to translate that into advertiser interest. Paywalls alone, unless they are ridiculously expensive, just won’t be enough.

Either way – I’m sure we’ll do it.  I wish we wouldn’t, I’m not sure we’ve looked at the complete array of options objectively yet.  Wish us well.  :)

Why paywalls won’t help most big newspapers

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i = Future Of Newspapers = Think, Know, Understand, and Feel – /Message

Interesting concept:

The paper’s team worked with media consultancy Innovation to come up with a new way to organise the product. “Our feeling was,” said Figueiredo, who came on board at an early stage, moving from Diário Económico, “that people were not concerned about traditional sections any more.

i = Future Of Newspapers = Think, Know, Understand, and Feel – /Message.

Media – use the megaphone before its too late

Members of Austrian jazz band Riverside Stompe...

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One of my favorite ideas of our CEO Chuck Peters is the idea that “old-media” is like a megaphone.   We  broadcast a message in a one-way fashion rain the news down to all within earshot.  I like that analogy.

But I guess I’m thinking that we better starting using the thing to engage some people really soon – or we’ll have nobody left, or a lot of deaf ears, to talk to.

I think sometimes people are trying to make this all too complicated, I see three main points.

  1. Focus on the community – for me this is more about fostering relationships and just being real.  Let’s not get hung up on who own’s it, what the rules are or that…but the conversation, is it meaningful?
  2. Use the megaphone – not in the obnoxious, “see how loud I can holla”, Ty Pennington way – but people are listening and they want to know what to do.  Let ask them what they think.
  3. “Don’t over think the room” – this a quote from the great philosopher Colin Cowherd.  I guess it speaks to me – let’s see what the people will use, not analyze to death the exact mentality of each person and their “true” motives.  Damn – put something up, try it, see how it works, revise, put something else up, see how it works, revise.

OK – enough rambling from me – let’s crack the switch and see if anyone wants to talk.

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