Newspaper survival tips stress multiplatform reporting

In “12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive,” Vadim Lavrusik offers a range of suggestions for “what newspapers should be considering in order to survive and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span world.” At the top of his list is “Putting web first and reporting from multiple platforms.” He explains:

Reporters need to focus on primarily gathering information and how to present that information in multiple formats: websites, mobile platforms, social networks and finally print.

The reason? Technology is changing the way people consume news, and though many are still getting their news through traditional print outlets, many others are shifting to get their news through various media, such as television, mobile phones, and the web.

Other tips focus on creating community, integrating real-time reporting and creating content for mobile devices. A good read with lots to get class discussions rolling.

Washington Post combines print and digital operations

Long after many other news organizations had merged their print and online operations, The Washington Post finally made its first step in that direction in spring 2009. Howard Kurtz, Post media critic and host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, told inVocus in an e-mail interview:

We’re all accustomed to writing for the Web by now. But that is increasingly becoming more important than ever, and yet we want to preserve the time to report and craft stories for the next day’s paper….For years Post reporters joked about what was dubbed MLE, or Multiple Layers of Editing, and in a tough financial climate that’s something we no longer need, if we ever did.

Read the full story at the inVocus Media Blog; you’ll need to search for “Washington Post” to find this article.

Focusing on newspapers’ strengths

In “Newspapers’ essential strengths,” David Carr emphasizes how important reporters and real journalists are to a generation that is quickly allowing newspapers and journalism to slip. “Even as newspapers are being attenuated,” he writes, “they are still the source of most of the reporting horsepower out there.” Carr acknowledges that changes are needed in newspaper business practices, but adds:

Newspapers and other print publications need to think about how they finance their work differently as well. But as the gap in balance sheets grows, there will be a growing gap in the things that the public doesn’t know, but probably should.

Strategies for retaining older readers as newspapers move to digital-only editions

In “How to use the Web to prevent remaining print readers From fleeing,” Steve Outing warns that newspapers cannot forget older readers as they transition to a digital future. Among his suggestions for easing the transition are to create digital replica editions; to use the print edition to drive readers to special online-only content (including multimedia); and to use the print edition to “publish excerpts and URLs to content from other online sources.”

The importance of multimedia storytelling

At EditorsWeblog.org, Emma Heald asks, “Are newspapers making full use of the opportunities that the Internet offers to change the way that they produce their stories?” While her overall answer is “No,” Heald cites some cases where news organizations are working heard to incorporate multimedia into journalistic storytelling, and cites a French school program that is exploring alternate ways of telling stories.

Heald concludes:

It is clear that more innovation in newspapers’ story-telling could only be a good thing, as long as it does not overwhelm a story’s essential message. And given the recent moves that publishers such as News Corp are making towards charging for online content, creating more interesting, interactive websites could even help to ‘save’ the newspaper industry by offering readers an online reading experience that they might be prepared to pay for.

Other good recent articles on the topic include “Storytelling Is Stuck In A Rut—What Publishers Can Do About It” and “New Journalistic Storytelling.”

Hearst plans new device for mobile news delivery

In an effort to find a way to keep people reading its newspapers and magazines, Hearst is planning to unveil a wireless electronic reader similar to Amazon.com’s Kindle, according to InformationWeek.com. While there is no guarantee such a device would succeed, it

has its best chance of striking a chord with the majority of consumers if it includes its e-reader at no additional cost with a multiyear subscription to the publisher’s magazines and newspapers… To make the device even more attractive, it should have a Web browser to access other content and include additional capabilities, such as the ability to share content with others over the Web.

Focusing on the news in poor budgetary times

Clifford Krauss of The New York Times writes that although many newspapers are dealing with a financial scarcity, The St. Petersburg Times still finds a way to keep the majority of its reporters. The Times still putting emphasis on their features and other pressing issues locally and nationally. Krauss notes:

For newspaper publishing – an industry awash in uncertainty as it tries to adapt to the Internet – The St. Petersburg Times offers one possible model of salvaging enterprises that much, as all businesses do, respond to financial reality.

The Times still believes in delivering news effectively to readers opposed to cutting costs, which many major newspapers are doing today.

Filed under: Newspapers, Economy, Investigative Reporting | Tagged: st. petersburg times, budget crisis