Sunday, January 03, 2010

Adapting to the new tools of the trade

I've already flatly stated that it's disheartening to see how traditional news outlets still fail to comprehend current technology.

The fact that online editions leave very little money on the table has been a major source of confusion for publishers, hindering online, as well as, in my opinion, print growth.

While I watch an old favorite "Dr. Who's: The End of Times", let's review some of the weaknesses that I feel require an urgent change of course:

It's alarming to see the great number of publications that hold back breaking news from their online edition to protect their print counterpart.

Isn't it obvious that the market is going to exploit this blatant weakness? Why not rethink the online edition as a service to the community with associated benefits. It has the potential side effect to draw readers into both editions, online and print. Greater online traffic not only means greater online ad revenue, but, also should attract subscribers to the associated print editions —if and only if, the contents of these editions are quality topic reader centered articles, with follow-up calls feeding into each other.

This immediately brings us to the major issue of repeatability.

It's quite obvious that these editions must carry different, although, often complementary content. They can deepen their online articles with opinion in the print edition, and broaden their print articles into the inexpensive online edition —with related archive database background.

Content from Wire, TV, radio, and online, needs to be chopped away; carrying brief, or excluding completely, repeat articles in the print edition, to strike an appropriate balance between accomplished news and non-repetitiveness.

And, yes, yes, of course! I'm watching Henry Evans being interviewed by Bloomberg, where he stresses the importance of quality journalism, or in a few more words: the value of honest, unbiased and brave investigative reporting, —which unfortunately we don't see as often as we should.

If you stop to think about it, a bias knocks out the "other" readers from the get go —not a very smart move, if you want good circulation numbers. Honesty, on the other hand, builds the best brand possible for any publication by attracting an extremely loyal following. Further, brave and heroic feats are not only rare, but, admirable, which we also know to attract reader attention by the plain etymology of the word. Did I mention that they're also the right thing to do?

Technology has significantly altered the branding of a publication.

In a technologically dialogue rich world it's very rude not to allow the other person to comment. Further, a publication's persona becomes transparent. Dishonest behavior is spotted from a distance.

If it's not interesting, it's not worth reading...

Journalists must also use and take advantage of the new tools at their disposal to quickly grasp an article's impact, to enable them to quickly morph their publishing topics closer to readers' interests. Again, if you don't, they will.

I'm sure there's a lot more. I'd love to hear from you.

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