Times are tough for community newspapers. Heck, times are tough for most small businesses these days. The challenges we all face are many. But I’d like to describe to you what I feel is the single most significant problem facing community newspapers, and my idea to fix it.
Our own industry, media, loves to lament how cragislist is killing newspapers. That’s a bold statement, and it’s completely untrue.
”Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.”
- Mark Twain
The internet at large, craigslist included, is not killing newspapers. But we do find ourselves challenged in ways we didn’t expect. Like a magnifying glass, the internet exaggerates flaws of our 20th century business model.
Delivery: our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness.
Once upon a time, our sun rose and set with the act of delivering a daily newspaper. This singular product was enough to achieve our goal of informing our community of news, information and advertising.
But today, readers expect their news, information and advertising in a multitude of ways. On their computer, smart phone, iPad, and increasingly social media like Facebook, twitter and google.
We have a delivery problem.
Our delivery of news, information and advertising through the printed page is unmatched in our community. Award winning, in fact. But our delivery within the digital realm is… inconsistent. Unintentionally we have been holding back on our community, by failing to deliver consistently; regardless of how readers choose to receive their news, information and advertising. In summary:
The newspaper is no longer enough.
Beginning September 1, 2011 our newspaper will bring equality to our advertisers. Advertisements that appear in the printed newspaper will “follow” each article on that page throughout the day. No matter how readers choose to receive their news, information and advertisements, the ad experience will remain consistent. I truly hope, and expect that advertisers will benefit from this new, no-charge service. Equality in marketing.
In closing, I present to you the ‘E’ section: