Monday, July 21, 2008

The Changing Newsroom - Newspaper Quality Declining

There is an interesting buzz happening about "cuts" hurting the quality of newspapers. according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's study, called "The Changing Newsroom: What is Being Gained and What is Being Lost in America's Daily Newspapers."

I am wondering is they are looking at an old paradigm. They say stories are shorter (as if that is a bad thing). Perhaps newspapers are reasonably responding to what the readers want. One of the reasons I try to keep my blogs to 400-500 words is to keep readers interest. I understand the time limits we all face.

They say "foreign and national news makes it into the papers, it is being relegated to less prominent pages." again as if that is a bad thing. Newspapers are logically figuring out that many other media sources are better and faster for foreign and national news - like Internet and TV.

They say " and eliminated television and stock listings. " Again - this is simple user demand. Users can get this on the Internet faster and more easily and with more rich content.

Responding to changes in customer demands and responding to a changing world is a business imperative. And it does not make it bad.

I am not saying that all change is good. I am just saying it is just good business to respond to changes.


At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insightful post, Jim. I think the question that newspapers need to ask is "What unique role can we fill in delivering news to people in our market?" In the age of the net, and podcasts, and Craig's List, what can newspapers do well and profitably?

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I take your point that maybe newspapers are delivering what their readers want, although I think they are uniquely positioned to determine what their customers think they want.

I watched an interesting Ted Talk on this topic by Alisa Miller, CEO of Public Radio International. She points out the number of Americans who say they are interested in foreign news has gone up, but the number of foreign bureaus has gone down. Looking at television news coverage in February 2007 , one news story eclipsed coverage of all other countries except Iraq. Can you guess what that story is? The death of Anna Nicole Smith. Does that reflect what readers want?

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting Blog Jim. A change in the way Publishers (of which I am one) deliver our products. Shorter stories, less international and national news... Hey wait that makes us a community newspaper. I think the blog topic could be daily -vs- weekly or AKA David -vs- Goliath. In our area the trend is for the daily giants to buy up the independently owned community paper. Writing is on the wall if you ask me


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