Wednesday, October 29, 2008

new media adapters: newspapers

The Christian Science Monitor's decision to go all-digital makes it "the first national newspaper to largely give up on print," according to the New York Times. And while it's not an exact model for others (CSM operates as a nonprofit, for example, and most of its revenue comes from subscriptions rather than advertising), the choice to go online on weekdays with a weekend magazine offers a vision of what future news organizations can try. Says the editor:
We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years.
The Times's David Carr pinpoints the issue for print media:
...newspapers and magazines do not have an audience problem — newspaper Web sites are a vital source of news, and growing — but they do have a consumer problem.

Stop and think about where you are reading this column. If you are one of the million or so people who are reading it in a newspaper that landed on your doorstop or that you picked up at the corner, you are in the minority. This same information is available to many more millions on this paper’s Web site, in RSS feeds, on hand-held devices, linked and summarized all over the Web.
And, he points out, print hangs on because 90 percent of a newspaper's revenue comes from the printed version, not the electronic one. (An advantage of reading the "paper" on my Amazon Kindle: No advertising.) The Monitor gets some advice on its transition from print to online publishing from none other than Mashable, the go-to website on what's new on the web and in social media. If you're considering converting a print publication to online formats, check it out--you'll note that Mashable recommends beefing up the social media options for the Monitor site, a move that will help them grow and engage readers better.

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