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Your News – Your Way?

Fact: Newspapers can’t survive unless they change the paradigm in which they practice. Customers, including yours truly, are jumping ship for digital media content that is more up-to-date, accessible and relevant. Long lost are the days when newspapers produced engaging content and – in turn – sold ad space to generate revenue to support what (once) was a tremendous source of public information.

Why?

Newsgathering has shifted from being a passive act—tell me a story—to a proactive one—answer my question.

According to journalism.org,

“…Pew Research Center survey. The figures for almost every traditional media platform are now at historic lows. For instance, the number of Americans who said they read a newspaper “yesterday” has fallen by 40% since the 1990s—to 34%. The number of people who watched the nightly network newscasts yesterday has fallen even further—by half—to 29%. Radio news is at 35%. Regular readership of weekly news magazines is down to 12%.”

So, what does that mean for us? Where is that 40% going to get their news?

Blogs, baby. Blogs! Not to mention podcasts, vlogs and heavy-handed translations of traditional media to online, user-driven sites, and micro-sites.

With that, yesterday, I ran across this story: On January 27th, Joshua Karp (follow on Twitter: @theprintedblog) will be launching a twice-daily free print newspaper in Chicago, San Francisco and later in New York City. The content he will be publishing will be solely from BLOGS!

“So what,” you say, “Nothing novel there?” Hold on. Joshua has a little twist for you.

His intent is to aggregate local content from blogs and print them in tabloid form in time for the morning and evening commutes… The advertising – focused to reach targeted, local audiences – supports the newspaper (of course). It will also include classifieds (of course).

From Joshua’s venture, The Printed Blog web site:

“The selection of content in The Printed Blog is based solely on the votes of readers and their geographic location. In such a way, The Printed Blog revolts against the top-down, ‘one size fits all’ model of newsprint, as we know it. Instead of one paper serving hundreds of thousands of people, as is often the case, The Printed Blog publishes hundreds or even thousands of highly-localized editions based on what a community declares is important to them. The papers are distributed to neighborhood pickup points in A.M. and P.M. editions, and will incorporate rapid turnaround reader comments.

… As our society moves towards individualized information, The Printed Blog has the courage to respect our readers. We recognize the value of what individuals have to say, we publish the information they create, and provide them with the information they demand.”

News = information relevant to the people. When traditional news sources become irrelevant, or self-serving, people go to their community for relevance.

I’m interested in Joshua’s new venture. The online community will drive content. Readership will be driven by the local community. Advertising will benefit from a more targeted audience. Hmmmm…Where can this go wrong? Market? Content? Commuters? Advertisers? Classifieds?

Can you combine the past with the present? Why not just keep it all online? Why take it to press?

What do you think? Take a look at his formula and give me your thoughts.

Until Next time…

Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
– The Brand Chef

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