Newspaper Manifesto

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Editor and Publisher published a Winning Online Manifesto by Tom Mohr, director of the New Media Innovation Lab at Arizona State University.

Newspaper industry leaders are frogs in a pot. The water’s starting to boil, and it’s time to jump. Only 19 percent of 18-34 year olds read a daily newspaper; 44 percent of them go to a web news portal. Broadband penetration has reached 57%. The blogosphere is doubling every 5 ½ months. Search provides instant access to the world’s information. User-generated content has turned the authority model of institutional media on its head. Peer-to-peer networks, tag clouds and reputation engines are fundamentally changing how people engage with content and communications.

Safa Rashtchy, Senior Internet Analyst for Piper Jaffray, has advanced the notion that these shifts in consumer behavior have precipitated a nascent shift in the marketing mix. He sees search at the center of a new marketing mix. Acknowledging a debt to his framework, I would expand the “center” somewhat to include all intention-based advertising (search, lead-generation advertising, and e-commerce).

Increasingly, smart advertisers are placing their first dollars in intention-based advertising. That’s because these ad dollars target consumers who demonstrate through their actions an expressed interest in the product or service being advertised. While traditional media are not completely replaced by intention-based advertising, they suffer lost market share.

These changes have begun to restructure consumer consumption habits and advertiser behaviors. Circulation has declined 12% since 2000, and the rate of decline is increasing. 3,500 newsroom professionals have lost their jobs, about 7% of the industry total, since 2000.

It is not beyond the pale for the $49 billion (2005) newspaper ad business ($47 billion of which was print) to begin to see accelerating declines in print ad revenue over the next five years. My rough projection is for 2010 print revenue to be just under $3 billion below its 2005 level. This loss must be offset by online. The $4 billion incremental revenue from a network ensures sub-two percent revenue growth from 2006 – 2010. Not robust, perhaps, but certainly much better than the alternative.

This migration path is difficult. The benefits of today’s actions will be seen in two to three years. It’s important to start now.

I have concluded that depends on an industry-wide understanding of seven key points:

  • Local newspapers will not be the innovation source for top online products.
  • “Local” is not, in itself, defensible online.
  • The big money is not in newspaper websites, but in gaining access to top-tier product via partnerships with vertical online leaders.
  • Moving newspaper websites onto common platforms will deliver improvements in quality, cost reduction, traffic and revenue.
  • When networked, newspapers bring critical assets to the table that strengthen their competitive position vs. online-only players.
  • The window of opportunity is closing; failure to act will compromise the future of the business.
  • Ultimately, the key is leadership at the highest levels.

Jeff Jarvis says, “Journalism will become more collaborative — because it can, thanks to new tools; because it must, thanks to new business realities; and because it should, to build a new and respectful relationship with the public. So our challenge is to find the ways to help this happen. Jarvis says Saving journalism (and killing the press) is manditory in the age of Craig Newmark. is a new approach to networked journalism. And who better to get the ball rolling than Jay Rosen:

The site uses open source methods to develop good assignments and help bring them to completion; it employs professional journalists to carry the project home and set high standards so the work holds up. There are accountability and reputation systems built in that should make the system reliable. The betting is that (some) people will donate to works they can see are going to be great because the open source methods allow for that glimpse ahead.

Free Mobile Blog Software for mobile blogging, is available using Melodeo, Shozu, SplashBlog, VoiceIndigo, YouTube and Spodradio. Journalism resources are available at Columbia Journalism Review, CRJ Daily, Paid Content, Online Journalism Review, Poynter, Transom, This American Life, and The Media Giraffe Conference.

Related DailyWireless stories include; CBS Goes Wireless, CBS Bluetooth Posters, Audio Book Sharing, Google Traffic on Cell, Advance to the Rear and Midnight in the Garden.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, September 5th, 2006 at 2:04 am .

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