Welcome!

CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Why Local Newspapers Require Radical Reinvention to Escape a Very Grim Future

They provide too much of what readers can get anywhere and too little of what readers really want

Local newspapers and business-to-business publications face similar challenges as drastic drops in ad revenue drive equally drastic drops in relevant and compelling content.  But for newspapers, ad revenue declines are exacerbated because the highly profitable classified advertising sections have almost disappeared as readers flock to the Internet.  Moreover, business-to-business magazines that are well positioned still offer uniquely valuable niche content that helps readers succeed. Their readers still count on them. That’s not so true for our local dailies.

I believe that the potential nail in the coffin for local newspapers is the ease with which readers can access national and international content thanks to the Internet.  Conversely, I believe that the potential salvation for local newspapers is to become resoundingly local.

woman reading newspaper in front of windowLocal Newspaper News Monopoly Disappears
In the heyday of local newspapers they enjoyed a virtual advertising monopoly that was reinforced by an effective information monopoly.  That is, in a region like ours, the Naples Daily News was the most obvious source for local, state, national, and even international information.  They did a great job of aggregating content that enabled readers to get a good snapshot of everything they likely wanted to know once they had finished their ritual reading of the daily newspaper. 

Because most Americans were never blessed by a hometown newspaper like the New York Times or the Washington Post, they read the syndicated content from sources like the Associated Press which was bundled into their local daily.  Of course, healthy advertising revenues also supported lots and lots of local news coverage, too.  In addition, as we publishing veterans would point out, in many ways the advertising was just as important to readers as the articles.

As an example of the declining relevance of a local newspaper, the Business & Commentary section of the July 4 issue of the Naples daily news underscores the declining impact and relevance of the local press. 

  • there is no longer a stand-alone business section.  It is combined with a commentary section.
  • the entirety of the business coverage is on a single page. 
  • the lead story on that single page comes from the Associated Press and relates, perhaps ironically, to the reinvention of the Saturday Evening Post. 
  • four news briefs from unnamed wire sources populate a hodgepodge column that includes a story about an oil brokerage firm losing millions to trading
  • the two local stories on the page are openly credited to contributions by outside sources, one of which is a local PR firm. They don’t even pretend not to be press releases.

The net effect of this dearth of local news is to reduce the relevance of the newspaper to local readers.  I did a quick count of the Sunday edition of the paper and found that in the lead section a tiny fraction of the stories dealt with local issues.  Everything else consisted of Associated Press articles on national or state topics. 

This formula of combining local and syndicated content for business and other feature stories worked when there was plenty of local information provided and when readers had only expensive, if any, access to sources like the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the London Times. Today, any reader with Internet access can read not only those fine newspapers but what are now effectively daily online editions of Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist, and a host of other fine business publications.

The unfortunate bottom line is that we rely much less on our local dailies for essential news and information both because we have excellent online alternatives and because there is less compelling local substance.

A Modest Prescription for Local Newspaper Survival
I am certainly not alone in suggesting that local newspapers will have to reinvent themselves in order to survive. But, I believe that a really radical reinvention is required. 

Local newspapers need to focus like a laser beam on local coverage.  It is the one obvious area where they can outperform any national or international competitor.  It is also an area of abiding interest among the local community.  We all want to know what is going on with local businesses, growth and development, the local and regional economy, government institutions, community organizations, social activities, entertainment, and much more.  Therefore, they need to add, rather than reduce, local content.  Perhaps, they could even jettison all that expensive syndicated content completely thereby reducing printing costs while increasing relevance.

The other area of opportunity resides in well organized citizen journalism.  I don’t believe that this can be done in the tentative way that is typical of so many publications.  For example, The Naples Daily News has opened up virtually all of its articles to commentary in an effort to engage readers.  But, because they are unable to monitor the commentary closely, we wind up with a wild array of commentary from the thoughtful to the lunatic fringe.  This means that even positive articles or reviews about local companies can be poisoned by unsupervised comments.  

This doesn’t  mean that citizen journalism cannot work. Quite the contrary. We are blessed with an intelligent, affluent, and informed local population who could almost certainly generate world-class citizen content with the active and enthusiastic supervision of trained editors.  We are capable of creating local content that would be so relevant and compelling that it would recapture readers—and all those recaptured readers would lure back the advertisers.

In fact, there are early indications that the Naples Daily News may be moving in this direction.  If they do, and if they get it right, I’m confident that our own daily and its newspaper brethren across the country can thrive once more. I certainly wish them well on our collective behalf.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.

@ThingsExpo Stories
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...