[With their businesses in free-fall, some newspaper publishers are beginning to question the value of the Associated Press, whose sprawling information-gathering empire is 30% funded by member newspapers. The AP charges papers an average of $143,000 a year for its services, but large-circulation titles pay more than $1 million. The Daily News recently said it would dump AP if the charges weren’t brought down, and some publishers are wondering openly whether the AP is even necessary any more, given the amount of information that is now freely available online. – Ed.]
[This column from a few weeks back suggests that newspapers, which are about the most vertically oriented businesses on the planet, would be betfer off disintegrating and setting up their piece parts as profit-making entities in their own rights. In other words, spin the printing plant off into a business of its own with the newspaper as simply one client. It’s easier said that done (particularly when it comes to unwinding union printing contracts struck years ago) but would no doubt make the few newspapers that managed to pull it off leaner and more competitive. (Thanks to Randy Craig for the referral) – Ed.]
[One possible solution to the loss of quality jouralism resulting from newspaper job cuts is an increase in activity from the nonprofit sector. This article profiles a few fledgling ventures that are offering the kind of activist investigative reporting that was once the domain of daily newspapers. There are plenty of risks in this model – sustainability among them – but philanthroy could fill some of the gaps left by dying dailies. Quoting: “There’s freedom in not having to worry about making every possible reader happy, says managing editor Roger Buoen, formerly with the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune [and now with MinnPost, a nonprofit startup]. In his previous job, his bosses were preoccupied with attracting ‘readers who don’t read the paper,’ he says. ‘If you had complicated stories, there were a few strikes against them off the bat.'” – Ed.]
[A search engine optimization expert looks at The World Association of Newspapers recent “Shaping the Future of the Newspaper” slide show and concludes that a lot of it is hooey. – Ed.]
[David Sullivan writes of how a one-man news operation called Newzjunky is creaming its competition in Watertown, NY. Why? Economics. Newszjunky has almost no overhead, and its “content” mainly consists of links to other sources. But it’s hyper-local, with a great list of links to resources in the community. It’s also stuffed with ads. Newzjunky is one of the ugliest websites I’ve ever seen, but there is an odd appeal to its flashing, font-filled chaos. There really is something for everyone there. And its rival, the Watertown Daily Times, doesn’t know how to compete with it. – Ed.]
[Doug McGill writes about what reporters can learn from citizen journalists. He makes interesting points about the dampening effect of objectivity. Reporters aren’t suppose to have opinions, yet they do, of course. Other writers have commented recently that newspapers began to separate from their readers when they adopted neutral voice and lost their personalities back in the 1960s. Some misty-eyed veterans are imagining a return to the muckraking advocacy journalism of the 1920s noting that one of the appeals of blogs is their personality. Thanks to Mark Hamilton for the link. – Ed.]
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 at 8:09 am and is filed under BusinessModel, Demographics, Journalism, NewMedia, Newspapers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.