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Vadim Lavrusik Rss

12 things newspapers should do to survive

Posted on : 08-14-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Newspapers

Tags: , ,


Excerpt from a Mashable.com post that I wrote, which was published today:

Though there are countless articles and blog posts sprawled across the web about the dying newspaper industry, this will not be one of them. Some people have even come to the conclusion that journalism itself is dying, yet in reality, journalism is expanding with social media platforms and technology allowing the former audience and sources to become the reporters themselves. Instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom, this post is an attempt at gathering voices in the journalism industry and on the web to give some thought as to what newspapers should be considering in order to survive and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span world.

Those who think there is one silver bullet to fix the newspaper business are mistaken. Newspapers have almost always had multiple streams of revenue to support themselves and the future will likely not be any different. That doesn’t mean, however, that the money-making models newspapers will use on the web will look the same as the ones they have used for print.

Newspapers are struggling financially, but ad revenue is predicted to recover slightly in 2010. The underlying issues are not just business-driven, but include issues of structure, culture and the industrialized foundations of distributing newspapers. This list is not a comprehensive one, but these are some of the things that newspaper leaders should be considering. And though print itself may not survive, the organizations behind them provide value to a democratic society, often covering and providing news that blogs with more limited resources can’t always dig up. We welcome comments below with other suggestions of things you think newspaper leaders should try or invest in. Let’s have some dialogue about this topic.

1. Putting web first and reporting from multiple platforms

That might seem like a no-brainer, but this fact is a double-edged sword. Newspapers are often still treating their websites as an afterthought because their advertising revenue is largely still coming from print. At the same time, the shift to getting more revenue from websites won’t happen until the websites are the first priority.

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said one of the issues is that reporters have been given a job description that revolves around a single platform (i.e. print journalist), when really journalists need to conceive of the editorial act apart from questions of platforms.

Ultimately, the word “print” needs to be removed from the role of print journalists, said Kevin Sablan, leader of the Orange County Register’s web task force. Reporters need to focus on primarily gathering information and how to present that information in multiple formats: websites, mobile platforms, social networks and finally print.

The reason? Technology is changing the way people consume news, and though many are still getting their news through traditional print outlets, many others are shifting to get their news through various media, such as television, mobile phones, and the web. Ryan Sholin, director of news innovation at Publish2, a company that specializes in link journalism, said journalists now have to be ready to produce journalism on multiple platforms, whether that is tweeting a headline, uploading a video through their iPhone or something else – journalism comes in all shapes and sizes.

Read the full post at Mashable here.

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