10 Ways for Newspapers to Succeed Online

From Washington Post editor Len Downie:

“…when it first became apparent that the Internet would change the news business, executives and editors worried that its influence would erode the quality of journalism, increase competition, and become a distraction for the reporters and editors working on the print edition of the paper. But he said instead that the increased focus on the Web has “improved journalism a lot, way more than we could have expected.”

He also makes this surprising statement:

“Reporters love newsroom blogs, said Downie, because they put writers in better touch with their readers: “Everyone in our newsroom wants to be a blogger.”

Jack Shafer from Slate looks at how Bloomberg news has thrived, producing 5,000 stories per day, via the aid of automated feeds and writing templates:

“Even if Bloomberg News reporters desired to produce well-crafted prose, how often would they have the time? In this competitive beat, five seconds separates an “atta-boy” scoop from the shame of getting beat by Reuters.”

When compared to the rest of the news industry, Jack states:

“Daily newspapers didn’t see the lucrative news and information opportunity Bloomberg did for the same reason they didn’t enter the Web search business when it was green. As mature and graying industries, newspapers are mortified by the creative destruction of changing markets, so they take only tiny and confused steps—mostly backwards.”

Mark Cuban talks about how the explosion of news sources has posed challenges to newspapers differentiating themselves:

“One way of being different, he said, was doing original investigative journalism that scooped the competition. But he said he doesn’t see the value of the kind of “scoops” where news organizations race to be the first to print information that everyone will have a millisecond later.”

Advertising Age reports on another opportunity for newspapers to differentiate themselves:

“When it comes to building audiences… the good news for newspaper companies is that many of the opportunities are local.”

Romenesko looks at yet another way:

“Maybe it’s time for US papers to consider taking more risks…”

Doc Searls gives a deep look at the problems of newspapers and offers 10 ways for newspapers to succeed online:

  1. stop giving away the news and charging for the olds
  2. start featuring archived stuff on the paper’s website
  3. link outside the paper
  4. start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies
  5. start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers
  6. start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics
  7. stop calling everything “content”
  8. uncomplicate your webistes
  9. get hip to the Live Web
  10. publish Rivers of News for readers who use Blackberries or Treos or Nokia 770s, or other handheld Web browsers

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