Conventional wisdom is crap

This article says so many good things about how newspapers have no idea how to run websites, I feel I should quote it all. But some brief points I wish I could spraypaint on a local overpass:

  • “Conventional wisdom says that newspapers are caught in a business model which doesn’t support the changes to digital media, and despite huge efforts, the newspaper industry is in decline. Maybe there’s no longer a place for traditional newspapers. That’s what the Register’s publisher seems to be saying. The conventional wisdom is crap.”
  • “Most digital operations are seriously under-staffed and under-resourced. They don’t employ even the basic traffic-building strategies that independents are using with great success.”
  • “Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and others are experimenting with community selection of news, while newspapers pay little more than lip service to reader involvement.”
  • Social networking has changed the way young people interact, yet newspapers have failed to meaningfully take the plunge.”
  • The back end digital news production structure at most newspapers is a mess.”
  • ” Reporters and editors are pressed to add digital duties – blogs, podcasts etc – as add-ons to their “regular” jobs instead of incorporating the digital world as essential tools that should make their ability to gather and tell stories and interact with their communities easier.” (I would add: They’re expected to add these duties without extra pay, which means they’re absolutely unmotivated to do so.)
  • “So I want to advertise on the website of my local paper. How about those 2.2 million P-I readers? I go to the website. Look for how to do it. Not easy. I have to call someone, negotiate a deal.” (Small, niche advertisers should be able to buy online ads in minutes with a credit card, and without having to call anyone.)

Makes sense, no?

2 thoughts on “Conventional wisdom is crap

  1. princess iveylocks

    “So I want to advertise on the website of my local paper. How about those 2.2 million P-I readers? I go to the website. Look for how to do it. Not easy. I have to call someone, negotiate a deal.” (Small, niche advertisers should be able to buy online ads in minutes with a credit card, and without having to call anyone.)”

    But then how would price negotiation, size/design issues, editorial copy placement, and so on, be worked out?

    I don’t see that as a better model, I have to say. Minimal communication, all too often = miscommunication.

    Adults (especially media workers) everywhere: stop whining and pick up the phone!

    Reply
  2. Dahlia

    I totally agree with this. I hate reading The Gazette online, but I read it anyway because I don’t buy the paper. Ok so I’m not a loyal newspaper reader but we’re in 2008, even The New York Times does a better job online. The Gazette’s images are so small it’s like they don’t even matter in the articles. Interviews are skewered that I don’t even know who is asking what, and sometimes I see a lot of headlines with no content. I can also tell some of those blogs are just fluff, there’s no heart in those posts.

    Canoe.ca fares only slightly better, but nobody can read fonts that small, and the screen resolution needs to be bumped to at least 1024×768.

    There needs to be some serious improvement for local online news sources.

    Reply

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