Yes, A Newspaper Can Survive If It Focuses On The Community
from the well,-look-at-that... dept
As evidence of how focusing on the community can work wonders for newspapers, just check out this recent column by David Carr (who just a week or so ago had jumped on board the "all newspapers should collude to start charging" bandwagon). In it, Carr talks about the success of the Austin Chronicle, the local newspaper in Texas that has been able to weather the "newspaper business model crisis" just fine while (get this!) giving away its newspapers for free. But, it's also built up the famous South by Southwest event that just happened in Austin, and has become a huge community builder for Austin. In fact, many now identify the city with SxSW -- and that only helps the Chronicle. While others are shutting down, the Austin Chronicle isn't looking to lay anyone off. Business is off a bit due to the general downturn, but the paper doesn't have massive debts and seems to have a really loyal following among locals who recognize the overall value it adds to the community. Meanwhile, it's the newspapers that haven't bothered to really connect with their communities that are suddenly demanding those community members pay -- and are suddenly offended when people tell them "no thanks"?