What Newspapers Must Do To Survive Online: Customize!
from the yes,-but... dept
A long, but very interesting article from Vin Crosbie outlining what he believes newspapers must do to stay alive in an online world. He lays out his argument very carefully, and it’s clear that he’s done a lot of thinking about this and just as much research to back up his point. He gives a history of the newspaper business, and how it’s been having trouble. He looks at current online efforts and how they fail to help solve the fundamental problems facing newspapers today (falling readership, fewer and fewer young readers). He points out that most newspapers are simply taking their offline content and tossing it online. This is cheap and easy, but does little to help solve the real problems. The whole point of the internet, of course, is that it’s interactive and limitless. There aren’t a limited number of pages that hold back how much content you can put online. Thus, his point is that newspapers need to create very customized content – pulling from a huge variety of sources, so that any reader gets the stories he or she wants. Furthermore, he says this content needs to be available and formatted for a variety of devices, since he believes many people will use wireless to read this ultra-customized newspaper. The points are all very well made, but here’s the thing: I already have that and I don’t need a newspaper company to provide it. It’s called the web, and it lets me access whatever I want and “build” my own customized newspaper (and even format it for non-PC devices). In fact, with tools like Google, Bloglines, Feedster, RSS and whatever else people are using these days, many people are already doing this. So, what’s the newspaper’s role in all of this?