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.

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  1. icon
    Nick Coghlan (profile), 20 Apr 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.

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