Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Debating the Future of Newspapers

The New York Times posted a piece on its website entitled, "Battle Plans for Newspapers." It features commentary from eight scholars and newspaper editors including the dean of Columbia Journalism School, the director of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism, and the former editor of the Sacramento Bee. The collection of short analyses addresses problems such as shrinking staffs, free online news, and what the future of journalism will look like. There are many interesting perspectives, so it's worth checking out. Below are a few highlights:

"...new media, particularly blogging, and traditional newspapers are already blurring together." --Craig Newmark

"Struggling midsized metro papers jeopardize their long-term relevancy by cutting news coverage, especially in fast-growing suburban areas. They’re ceding midsized and smaller advertising to competitors. They’re losing footholds in communities where local coverage matters. They’re curtailing the investigations that make them unique." --Rick Rodriguez

"I do think there is a strategy that might keep a high-quality regional newspaper modestly profitable in the future: Rely much more on revenue from readers. Publish a newspaper worth $2 a day, the price of a cup of coffee, and $5 on Sunday. Raise the quality. Make it more in-depth, more analytical, to complement the immediacy of your free Web site, and do not make that deeper, more insightful coverage available for free on the web. Perhaps make the printed product a tailored mix of sections that appeal to different readers: For $2, you get to pick, say, four sections out of six." --Joel Kramer

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