Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bankrupt Newspapers Get Golden Opportunity

New media guy Jeff Jarvis puts forth an interesting proposition: Bankrupt newspaper companies should use their bleak financial condition as an opportunity to take a bold step into the future. Ditch the presses and all the rest of their "old media" overhead and become entrepreneurial, going all-in online and better serving readers:
Bankruptcy enables a newspaper company to shed its past. It can get out of contracts and leases for paper, printing plants, delivery, trucks. ... It offers a one-time chance to rethink, reinvent, and rebuild the company for the future. Is it better to stretch out the pain and never get anywhere? And if tough decisions and actions are not made, the likelihood that the company will die and all will be lost only increases.
It's like they say about insanity: Why should bankrupt newspapers reorganize a broken media business model and expect different results?

Part of their new strategy has to be a streamlined staff and a focus on "hyperlocal" journalism that gets down to the neighborhood level. They need to partner with readers, encouraging content contributions and collaboration.

Hyperlocal also means dropping national and international news that readers already get elsewhere. A good example of this local focus is The Daily Record in Dunn, N.C., which has been the subject of various stories touting its intense commitment to "getting names into the paper."

For more on this topic, see:

Photo credit: "Slush Paper" by Pete ツ, courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons

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