Perhaps Newspapers Should Stop Looking Back, And Start Looking Forward

from the just-a-suggestion dept

For all the reports about how the newspaper business is in trouble, the situation hasn’t yet become as dire as some make it out to be. However, that’s not stopping plenty of hand-wringing. That could be good if those newspapers were coming up with innovative solutions. The amusing part, though, is how so much of the discussion is looking backwards at what the industry did wrong and whining about it, rather than what they can do in the future. For example, we see complaints about how newspapers never should have given away content for free online. This makes little sense for a variety of reasons. If newspapers had started out by charging, most of them would have discovered exactly what the few news organizations that charged early on discovered: unless you were the WSJ, breaking news that people can make money on, almost no one would pay. Just ask Microsoft how their experiment with Slate went initially. In the meantime, we keep hearing about sites starting to make more money out of online ads by getting increasing amounts of traffic. Notice that AOL (which is basically a “charge for content” type of company) has moved away from the walled garden mentality? Either way, who cares what the newspapers should have done years ago. It’s too late now. However, other suggestions aren’t much better. The idea that newspaper should learn things from Hollywood is particularly laughable. Exactly how has Hollywood “adapted” to the internet age? They’re being dragged, kicking and screaming, all the way. The actual article talks more about how Hollywood “embraced” DVDs, but that was only after a very long fight. Following the Hollywood reaction seems like the last thing you should recommend.

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Comments on “Perhaps Newspapers Should Stop Looking Back, And Start Looking Forward”

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juan eduardo aller-vasquez (user link) says:

Remember A.M. Radio?

I believe that newspapers are headed the way of am (and fm) radio, and books for that matter. Technology obsolete, serving niches only – not the broader market. Local (like within 5 miles of your suburban house) news makes sense and probably won’t be replaced by other media sources. National news, International news, i.e. ‘real news’ has great economy of scale and the internet (read: ‘your non-print medium of choice’) is the right delivery medium for this. That’s my two cents – probably worth about that much.

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