By paulgillin | August 31, 2009 - 6:42 pm - Posted in Fake News, Paywalls, Solutions

The Providence Journal is taking hyper local to heart. The paper has moved all its local coverage to the front and banished national and international news to a separate section. The move may be either brilliant or brain-dead, but at least the ProJo is doing something, writes David Scharfenberg in the Boston Phoenix. The ProJo has long been considered one of the best small-city newspapers, with a history of strength in local communities and a commitment to good reporting. However, recent layoffs and cutbacks have forced it to learn to do more with less. Suburban bureaus have been closed and the newsroom has been reorganized around five thematic desks, including public policy and justice. It’s unclear whether the strategy will work, but Scharfenberg quotes pundits saying that if any paper can figure out how to reinvent itself as a journal of local events, it’s this one.

Last April Fool’s Day, the Manchester Guardian published a very funny spoof story about its plans to reinvent the whole paper as a collection of Twitter posts. It turns out the idea may not have been so far off the mark. Check out Tewspaper, a localized news service composed entirely of Twitter feeds. Tewspaper currently serves five cities and hopes to expand, according to its “about” page. The service monitors the Twittersphere for relevant local information and posts the entire tweet, along with a link. Graphics are mainly stock photos and clip art and the whole site has a bit of a cheesy look and feel, but we have to give its creator points for innovation.

US newspaper advertising revenues shrank by 29% in the second quarter as the industry’s slide worsened. Total ad sales were $6.8 billion, down from $9.6 billion in last year’s second quarter. The declines were most pronounced in bread-and-butter ad categories that have been hit hard by the recession: recruitment ad sales were off 66%, real estate was down 46% and automotive advertising fell 43%. Print revenue fell 30% and online advertising dropped 16%

Chris Lake has a list of 25 things journalists can do to future-proof their careers. While many of his recommendations are obvious (“Start a blog” and “Embrace Twitter”), the piece is kind of a laundry list of Web 2.0 phenomena that are driving the evolution of journalism and a worthwhile read for journalists who are wondering what to do next. It’s also delightfully British. One recommendation: “Big up yourself.”

Among the biggest circulation gainers in the UK over the last 12 months are thelondonpaper, a Murdoch holding that the publisher plans to close, and the Observer, a Sunday companion to the Guardian that has been singled out as a potential candidate for closure by its owner. Several other papers saw healthy readership gains as British papers continue to defy the declining circulation trends taking place across the pond.



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