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COMMENTARY: Are Newspapers A Thing Of The Past?

ECONOMY TOUGH ON BUSINESS

Posted: June 11, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.

WHAAAAT? That was the general reaction in the newsroom upon learning the Times-Picayune, the venerable daily newspaper in New Orleans, will soon print a paper only three days a week. This is not good news.

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>>Of course that is not entirely true. You don't get much local news on the Internet and certainly don't get much in-depth reporting on local issues there.<<

The reason you're declining is that you provide too little "ind-depth" news of any kind. It appears to this casual reader you're too editorial heavy and shy of a few investigative reporters.

Posted by: cdawg

June 12, 2012 at 4:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "Are Newspapers A Thing Of The Past?
Economy tough on business"

Newspapers of days past were worthwhile means of communication and valuable sources of information. In respect to these criteria, this newspaper conglomerate is no longer a thing of the past. However, with its rush to mediocrity and irrelevancy, it is not likely to be a thing of the future, either.

That's not entirely the fault of the economy.

Posted by: AlphaCat

June 12, 2012 at 6:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Newspapers that don't start learning some lessons from the information marketing industry will become extinct. Free content drives traffic to advertisers' ads. Advertising money makes the world go 'round.

So many times, I've wanted to share an article of interest that one of your staff writers wrote. Instead, I don't bother because my peeps probably aren't subscribers and can't open it anyway. Too bad for your website advertisers too. Do you know how many more eyeballs I (and other people) could drive to your advertisers' web ads if you'd just unlock the content? Internet advertising provides important data and feedback to advertisers. Drive more traffic to your site and it increases the value of your advertising.

I'm also a little embarrassed that we fill half of our news pages with crime stories that didn't happen in Benton or Washington county. Can you imagine what visitors to our area think when they pick up our newspaper? They have no idea that our Northwest Arkansas section really has very little about Northwest Arkansas in it.

And it is shameful that the cities rely solely on the newspaper to deliver official city news and then it is only available to those who subscribe to the newspaper. At the very least, official city news like city council reports should be free content.

There should be a cost to receiving a personally delivered print edition of the newspaper. Some people prefer to read a print edition and are willing to pay for that. The real goldmine in the new economy though is in online advertising and locking down your content is cheating your online advertisers.

How about unlocking the online content and improving the traffic so more people get more miles out of their web advertising dollars? Then, use the money to print stories about people who really live in Northwest Arkansas and do good, positive things in our area. People want to read about themselves and they want to share articles from your newspaper using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. Advertisers want people to see their ads. Stop being stingy with your content and let the social media community help you out. The news sources of the future understand this concept. I just hope this one figures it out before it is too late.

Posted by: carrieperriensmith

June 12, 2012 at 10:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Good thoughts carrie but seems Buffett and Hussman don't agree. They think content has value so you must pay for it.

Used to be that content was paid for with advertising but as explained in the column advertising is rapidly dwindling due to other media and the Bush Recession.
So they must now look to readership for revenue rather than advertisers.

Internet advertising costs much less, due to competition, than print advertising thus, a traditionally print media has a difficult time utilizing the web for revenue.

It's hard to convince many internet users to pay extra for content when they already pay $50-70 per month for internet access. It would behoove media publishers to fight for lower connection rates for internet users so that more users would be willing to pay extra for media content. But, I doubt newspapers are that savvy.

Posted by: cdawg

June 13, 2012 at 1:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )