Category Archives: Content

To win in mobile: It’s a situation, not a news channel

To someone who only has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the newspaper industry, the hammer we have is news. And right now, the new nail is mobile.

With mobile usage exploding, our industry is determined to pound that nail with news as hard and fast as we can. It looks like a must-do, a matter of survival, and — we hope — a new opportunity to reach people, sell advertising and make money. But mobile is not the nail we think it is. Read the rest of this entry

Media disruption: Bad for us, wonderful for humanity

Disruption of the mass media is a big subject. But here’s an even bigger one: The incredible amount of good this same disruption is bringing to humanity worldwide.

So let’s forget about the mass media for a few minutes. Let’s take a look at the massive and mostly positive impact this digital revolution is having and will continue to have on humanity. Read the rest of this entry

Why the definition of news must change in the digital age

Nothing is more deeply ingrained in the newspaper industry than the definition of news. It’s the foundation of what we do, the “product” we use to attract and serve consumer audiences, and the platform on which we sell most of our advertising.

Now the definition desperately needs fundamental change, as I’ll document below. If we hope to be relevant and engaging to the people in our markets, we need to start over, beginning with a fresh answer to the question, “What is news?” Read the rest of this entry

Four huge takeaways from Borrell’s “The Future of Legacy Media”

When your industry is undergoing massive disruption, getting a glimpse of the future is priceless. The more you know about where things are going, the smarter you can be about what to do right now.

For that reason, the report released earlier this month by Borrell Associates — “The Future of Legacy Media” — should be required reading for everyone responsible for the health and sustainability of any legacy media business in the United States and Canada. Read the rest of this entry

The big picture: Mass media era was the blink of an eye

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In the midst of major change, we can only make the right moves if we properly understand what’s happening.

Right now, we in the mass media are wrestling with the most massive change we’ve ever seen. But, as in the parable of the blind men and the elephant, we’re only aware of the tiny part of this change that we touch every day. Read the rest of this entry

Desperately needed: More innovation on the audience side

Just how disrupted is the old newspaper business model — the model that’s centered on providing news to a geographic market?

A lot more disrupted than many people in the news media think.

The local media industry is scrambling to innovate around sales. This is seen, for example, in the race to create new digital sales teams and agencies selling digital marketing solutions to small and medium businesses. And the industry is innovating around costs by consolidating, outsourcing and otherwise whacking at the high costs of producing and distributing its products.

But I don’t see a lot of innovation happening around the content model that’s been the basis of the newspaper business for the last 100 — even 200 — years. Read the rest of this entry

Everyday requirement for local media companies: Be the greatest show on earth

What’s a local media company’s No. 1 job, whether it’s a newspaper company, a TV station or a radio station? Simple: Win the biggest audience, every day. You have to win audience to win advertising dollars.

Winning the biggest audience is a clear, simple, results-based goal. In the TV and radio industries, they’re all about it, based on standardized measures of audience share.

But in the newspaper industry, for far too long now, we’ve rarely held ourselves accountable for our audience results. Read the rest of this entry