I found this fascinating quote today:

Here are nine:

  • Give us content for free, that should be the first tenet of newspapers’ new business model. Put the content online and quit wasting resources on printing the darn things.
  • Provide localized (whether geographically or interest-level), personalized stories. Quit giving me articles written from the traditional third-person view that a sixth-grader could read because our world today is about you and me, not some weird narrator from “The Truman Show.” And use video to compliment your written stuff.

    Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism seems to be heading in this direction as it trains students for a new era of newspapers. Here’s an excerpt from a “Chronicle of Higher Education” article about Northwestern’s shift (you have to, wait for it…pay to see the article, so I can’t link to it):

    “Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism will send student reporters out into the field with video iPods and digital camcorders, as well as spiral notebooks. The most controversial change, though, is the increased emphasis on “audience understanding.” This fall, lessons in audience behavior and motivation will be taught alongside drills in crafting leads and meeting deadlines. Students will even be encouraged to connect with readers by writing out of storefront newsrooms in diverse Chicago neighborhoods.”

  • Get rid of the editor/reporter dynamic. The people writing their stories can edit stories as well, especially in an age where a random typo isn’t a big deal. It’s casual Friday on the Web, and if your socks don’t match, it’s no big deal. So they need to quit paying all these people to follow a process they learned in J school. If fact-checking is a big deal (although I can argue it’s a little too self-important), then have writers/editors fact check each others work.
  • Break Web sites out and quit trying to throw all your content into one site. The only newspaper Web site I visit even semi-regularly is nytimes.com, and the only thing I look at is the most e-mailed stories. If the NY Times had a separate site for content I enjoy, like technology, I’d be all over it. Instead, they treat their technology coverage like a section in their newspaper. But this is a Web site. Treat it like one.
  • Go mobile. Develop a mobile application for your content so we can read your stuff on the go from our phones.
  • Go social. Allowing just comments on an article is so 2002, and many newspapers don’t even allow commenting on all their content. Use Facebook Connect, DISQUS and allow readers to create simple profiles where they can integrate social services like del.icio.us, Twitter and bit.ly.

    Newspapers still have tons of readers, just ones who want free, easy-to-access content. They should leverage their audience and build a following, a community. Give readers a chance to actually interact with the newspaper and each other one-to-one, not through an ombudsman.

  • Newspapers need to use Twitter. As I’ve written before, local officials and agencies are starting to let us know what’s going on in our communities via Twitter. If I can hear from the horse’s mouth about street closures, weather events, etc., that’s just one less reason to need newspapers. If newspapers can add immediate local news Tweets to their repertoire, though, then I have one more reason to pay attention to them.

    It’s about building a brand and a consciousness in the mind of the reader. If a newspaper tells me every time there’s a street closure, public health situation, etc., then I’m more apt to use that newspaper’s other services. Plus, have you seen the average age of Twitter users? Seems like newspapers’ demographic to me.

  • Newspapers need a sense of humor. Newspapers employ some creative people, and when they look at who to let go, they should focus most on the handful of people they have who get the vision of tomorrow’s newspaper and who possess the creative acumen for a world where you can insert a choice word into an article, make witty comments on a video or use self-deprecating humor now and then.
  • Quit calling themselves newspapers. Give up the dream. Newspapers are dead by the traditional definition and newspapers need an image change. Calling themselves something else is a good start, and they should try and be more than a blog. They can behave in some ways like blogs, even looking like some blogs, but tomorrow’s newspapers need to be labeled something that encompasses more than just articles or posts.

    Today’s newspapers need to become centers of news, entertainment and community. Give me immediate, hyper-local content on Twitter, then provide me with more complete, localized and personalized content via articles/posts, and allow me to display my other social media services on a profile for others to check out.

  • Nine ways newspapers can survive, May 2009

You should read the whole article.

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