Thursday, December 18, 2008

Newspapers 2.0: Reinventing the Media

Newspapers, it would seem, are rapidly coming to the end of their press run. It's shocking to many just how fast the bottom has fallen out of the industry. (Penny stocks, anyone?)

As they struggle to continue their print editions, newspapers are joining in the scramble for the elusive online business model that will keep them the premier information providers in many markets.

In today's edition of MediaShift, Mark Glaser surveys the alternative business models that newspapers are trying in order to survive into the next decade.

Obviously, newspapers spent way too much time counting their profits and not protecting their information franchises over the past decade. Now faced with reality, most still don't get it. It's not just about making the transition from print to online, but evolving to become the go-to source of information and related services in their markets.

Which brings me back to Charlie Beckett's notion of "supermedia," where journalists and consumers collaborate through a variety of evolving media, including Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, and whatever comes next in the social networking revolution. I don't think it's enough for newspapers to evolve into and create local "portals," which just look like another place to hit readers with ads.

Media entities -- for-profit and non-profit alike -- have to find new ways to add value for some next-generation audience of media consumers. A daunting challenge, indeed.

Other industries have had to reinvent themselves, and not everybody has survived. Why should newspapers be any different?

Note: This just in ... study shows just how cautious newspapers are toward new media. See


(Photo credit: "The Newspaper on the Press" by Vin Crosbie, courtesy of

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