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The Future Of Print: Better Connect With Your Audience

from the it-ain't-one-way-any-more dept

Kevin Yank sends over an interview he recently did with Derek Powazek who, among other things, developed one of the first truly cool online publications in Fray, and also JPG Magazine, discussing the future of print. Powazek makes a point that we've tried to make here in the past, but weren't able to highlight as clearly as he does:
And the other crazy thing we found when we were doing JPG is that by far, the majority of our subscribers were people who did not subscribe to any other magazines. I thought that was weird. Like, you'd think, "Okay, maybe the people who like print would buy it." But what we learned was it was the people who felt involved in the creation of it who were buying it. The people who were submitting their photos, voting on other people's photos, who felt involved in the community were the ones buying it.

So I think there's a real opportunity here for media makers to learn from this to say, "Well maybe the reason why people aren't buying newspapers and magazines is because they feel completely disconnected from the product, right? Because the old style of journalism was sit down, shut up and consume what we say. And in a world of collaborative media where everybody can participate online, everybody can make content, maybe what these media organizations need to do is tear down the walls a little bit and let people feel involved in the making of it, and then they'll buy the product.
Exactly. We've discussed in the past how much the community now wants to be a part of the news process, whether it's helping out with some aspect of reporting or (more frequently) in spreading the news, sharing the news and offering commentary on the news. But that's not the way the old school publishers think. They still think of themselves as being part of an ivory tower of sorts, where they deliver "the word" from on high. But that doesn't create any connection with the community.

And that's a disaster for a publication -- since it's always really been about bringing together a community, and then trying to monetize the attention of that community. But by actually involving the community, inviting them in, and making them feel a part of the process creates amazing connections that create people who are loyal to publications. It's something that a lot of old school publications really need to understand. And, if they did, they'd quickly realize that a concept like a paywall pretty much destroys that relationship.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    I was thinking the same thing about blogs earlier today-- that if BLOGS don't migrate to a mobile app/device platform, then Content companies will be better off than blogs because of iPad and other platform portability.

    You'll have to be in front of a computer to comment, whereas with iPad, the level of effort to consume content is lower, thereby eliminating barriers-to-entry for customers to post their own thought-of-the-moment.

    Blogs will be handicapped by this because their primary commentary will come from people primarily behind a computer keyboard. The thing is, that the medium for content consumption is changing right before Mike's eyes.

    Also, iPad app functionality is better/easier consumed because of it offers more formatting capability. Web also has additional prerequisites such as network latency, etc.

    It's a win-win for everyone-- Mike gets fewer comments from jerks because the jerks can comment on stories that actually interest them.

    Blogs that don't migrate or don't see the steamroller coming will be stuck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Dan (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    I don't read a news source for the comments

    I ignore newspapers because the physical media is inconvenient. Who wants to lug a newspaper around until you are sure you've read everything you might want to? What if I miss something? I can't get it back after I throw it away. All those problems go away with on-line media. The comment section is a nice bonus yes, but not the reason people are flocking to those sources. I read Techdirt for years before making my first comment.

     

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  3.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    The hardest thing

    Given current corporate mindthing, it is much harder to give up control than it is to give up profits.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    One of the benefits of the physical media is a slightly improved amount of quality in the text. Far too many online news sources use the comments section as reader-spellcheck. When you go to print something on newspaper or magazine you had better be damn sure you ran spellchecker on it and proofread.

    Now, as I have said, that benefit is only slight. Is it enough of a reason to buy? I know it really pisses me off when I go to a site like Ars and see grade-school errors in a 300 word "article" alongside about half a dozen ads.

    Ads and typographical errors should be mutually exclusive in any publication.

     

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  5.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    "We've discussed in the past how much the community now wants to be a part of the news process, whether it's helping out with some aspect of reporting or (more frequently) in spreading the news, sharing the news and offering commentary on the news. But that's not the way the old school publishers think."

    The newspapers consider themselves the investigators, the professionals, the experts, and the true source for news. The main types of news are political rhetoric dressed up as news, meant to steer the public in one direction or another. Rehashed press releases designed to place an entity (corp, pol, etc) in a favorable light. Rewrites of other papers and bloggers stories used as fillers or cost saving methods.

    For all of these types of stories it is very difficult for a news paper to open up their web site to comment and community building. The internet at large acts as a fact checker, it points out flaws in stories, and it shines a light on untruths, and it shows the other side of the story. All the things that make people realize that discussion trumps being spoon fed information, that multiple sources for news gives you a better understanding of the world, that the news papers are biased in one direction politically or another.

    The existing news papers cant build a community because it would show them for what they are. Hacks, croonies, and afraid of being found to be no better than the blogger in his moms basement.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    You'll have to be in front of a computer to comment, whereas with iPad, the level of effort to consume content is lower, thereby eliminating barriers-to-entry for customers to post their own thought-of-the-moment.

    You lost me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    Leveraging Agile(TM) Zeitgeist Resources to Implement Dynamic Systems Solutions in Today's Marketplace(TM) where Aligning Verticals across a broad range of Environments is essential to Active Content Aquisition.

    Did I miss any?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    So the future of content consumption is built on a foundation of absolute gibberish?

    I access all of my content on a computational device. Not the radio. Not the television. Not the newspaper.

    On a computational device. It's like a fancy calculator!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    "I was thinking the same thing about blogs earlier today-- that if BLOGS don't migrate to a mobile app/device platform, then Content companies will be better off than blogs because of iPad and other platform portability."

    The iPad will have the exact opposite effect that you seem to think it will. Google currently has redone "reader" the RSS aggregator to be more iPad friendly. There are dozens if not hundreds of RSS feed readers for the iPhone. With how simple it is to convert iPhone to iPad apps you will see alot of them be converted for use on the iPad.

    Custom news, news of interest to the individual, news sent by friends, news links from people you follow because you respect their opinions, these are the future of the news industry. The iPad will accelerate this trend leading to quicker demise of the general information news papers.

    "Blogs will be handicapped by this because their primary commentary will come from people primarily behind a computer keyboard."

    You have obviously never touched an iPad. It has an on screen keyboard that can be used two thumbed blackberry style or as a normal keyboard. Just turn it sideways.


    "Blogs that don't migrate or don't see the steamroller coming will be stuck." ... let me rewite that for you ...

    newspapers that dont see the change in reading habits of their readers, that dont target a specific niche, and dont create a sense of community will be steamrolled as flat as a offset printing plate.

     

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  10.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: I don't read a news source for the comments

    "Who wants to lug a newspaper around until you are sure you've read everything you might want to? "

    And if you have OCD and are a horder, until your house is filled floor to ceiling with newspapers... ;)

     

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  11.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    croonies


    Fly me to the Eyjafjallajokull
    Da-Do-do-do-do-do



    Sorry, couldn't resist.
    Interesting article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    M. Scott Rogers, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Consumer vs. Collaborator

    "...the old style of journalism was sit down, shut up and consume what we say."

    Fogbugzd hit the nail on the head. The real issue is controlled consumerism over collaborative media.
    While there should be standards(like spell-check yourself)to collaborative journalism, people are stuck under the thumbs of Big Brother, Wall Street, and the Industry.
    All three force consumerism. Participation is only a luxury that those holding the gold coin can truly enjoy.

    That's all changing. More and more I refer to electronic media sources (newspapers,blogs, etc on my Kindle, blogrolls and news streams on my iGoogle page, etc.)
    And I'm not the only one who's tired of dishing out $30 to 40 a year for a subscription to a paper or magazine that eventually winds up compost or kindling in my grill.

    We, the citizens, are finally squirming out from underneath and entities like JPG Mag and other are giving us the means and confidence to do so.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Man, the comments in this article sound like something a bunch of Record Execs said a decade ago.

    I bet the Record Industry said the same thing iTunes too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    diru, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Print Not Dead Yet

    Once they stop printing money, then I will say print is dead.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    diru, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Print Not Dead Yet

    Once they stop printing money, then I will say print is dead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    the masnick's only post of the day and its another 'father knows best' talking down to print media. how disappointing, and how utterly self-promoting it is too.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Old print is dead. Long live new print.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re:

    "croonies" lol ... I would have thought it was the line

    "afraid of being found to be no better than the blogger in his moms basement."

    that got a response

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re:

    print is a buggy whip business. there is no need for print. print is dead. buggy whip buggy whip buggy whip. after all that the masnick thinks he can save them now? what a change of direction for the guru of all information is digital and free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Migrating a community to Apps or Migrating Content to Apps to Create Community. Which is easier?

    Uh, apps are a sideshow on mobile devices compared to their builtin web browser.

    Yes, the apps are cool and an important part of the attraction of these devices, but mobile-friendly websites are even better (e.g. the m.cricinfo.com site is great, so it doesn't matter that the cricinfo app is truly rubbish).

    Things like the iPhone even let you link a site from the main page of the phone as if it was an app.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "buggy whip, buggy whip, buggy whip"

    I really hope you were not looking in a mirror when you typed that three times ... Mr Coburn of US Whip Company will come after you ... ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You sure don't make much sense, do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the masnick isnt making much sense first calling print newspapers buggy whip businesses and now offering to fix them so they can print on. guru indeed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 8:09pm

    Everyone's a creator

    That's been my point in all the music discussions. The concept that there are artists who will have fans who will buy from them is still stick in an old media way of thinking. It's really just the major label system on a smaller scale. "We'll make the art and you'll buy it from us."

    I think the explosion of tech tools which allow everyone to be creative (in writing, photography, video, music, fashion, design) is going to vastly change how we view creativity. The idea that there will be artists and they will each cultivate a community of supporters around them doesn't seem to be reflecting trends. I see far more people are asking, "How can I be the star?" They don't want to be passive consumers. They'd like to create their own stuff and get some attention for their own creativity.

    Of course, a few people will achieve a level of stardom (though I think even fewer will maintain a significant following for decades), but I think most people will at least be able to share their personal creativity with family, friends, and neighbors. The likelihood that they will actually make much money from that output is slim, but if everyone has realistic expectations from the beginning, then I think they will be happy.

    The most exciting trend I see in music is the flood of apps that let people with little or no talent/training to create music. It gets people passed the idea of "what can I sell to fans" and on to "how do I help everyone find their inner rock star."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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