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This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >     


 2:22 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)


Imagine what higher-ups at the Post must have thought when focus-group participants declared they wouldn't accept a Washington Post subscription even if it were free.



 2:40 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heheh, I read that yesterday, and a couple of hours later a telemarketer called trying to pitch me a subscription to one of the local papers.

When I told him I could get ten times the information online for free, he had trouble coming up with a price point that would compete.

Newspapers are doomed. Newsfeeds are the future. The sooner the "big" papers understand that and come to grips with it, the better off they'll be.


 2:45 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

The sooner the "big" papers understand that and come to grips with it, the better off they'll be.

I'm sure many have seen the light but will keep trying to get milk from the cow while it's giving, just like those folks who keep offering me great mortgage deals :-)

Now, the sooner they can make cash off of newsfeeds, the better of they'll be ;-]


 2:47 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'll give up my newsprint when they pry it outta my cold cold hands ... well the December issues anyways, cause that's what the holiday ornaments get wrapped in. :)


 2:56 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I find it difficult to believe that newspapers will give up subscription revenues so easily.

As the owner of a news site I suspect (ok, I hope) that we will soon see the introduction of large scale news subscription systems, One challenge is to make an unobtrusive system that allows user to access the news they want for a reasonable fee. Another challenge is to actively deny users access to content.

We have been talking with newspapers in our region to create a kind of AdultCheck system that lets our set of online newpapers or magazines share a single subscription. Perhaps later systems can be flexible enough system that a reader can get some of their news from CNN, some from Slashdot and some from Webmasterworld and so on. But it means that a lot of people will have to do without "free" news for a while. Otherwise we will have a tragedy of the commons, where the entire system will fail because everyone is reading news but no-one is paying for it.


 3:30 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I read a number of newspapers every day and wouldn't like to give up on them. I love them in fact. The online experience is terrible compared to having a nice latte down my local cafe and reading a newspaper whilst watching the world goes past. perfect!

I can't see newspapers dieing any time soon. Already they are morphing into daily magazines with all of their supplements, expert analysis and the like.

Computers have a LOOOOOOONG way to go to replicate the user experience I have with a newspaper. I can't see me ditching a newspaper for an online version for some time.


 3:34 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>>>>> local papers.....

>>>>>>>>When I told him I could get ten times the information online for free,

Where do you get local news for free? Who reported it?

Local sports?


 4:01 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is definitely something better about sitting on the beach with a copy of The Economist while watching the world go by as opposed to reading it online, and besides the sand gets in my laptop.

I never read a newspaper however, I get all my daily news from newsfeeds, mainly because I believe news is news and should be instant. I can also get views on the same issue from any number of sources which helps to remove the bias found in most daily papers. To me a printed newspaper can never compete with this.

I do read weekly printed journals, specifically The Economist and New Scientist. I just prefer to read from a printed copy as opposed to online.

What is interesting is that these two publications also have great, content rich, websites as does the Financial Times which leverages it's store of information very well, the way forward for news organisations in my opinion.


 4:24 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't bother with newspapers anymore either. They are chock full of adverts for stores I never shop in, and I don't bother with coupons anymore either.

The local paper gives away the Sunday edition at the local WalMart just for the opportunity to talk with you about subscribing. They will give you the entire week for free if you buy Sunday. I still turn them down.

I don't have the time to wade through the paper or the ads. I log on to NY Times.com, my local paper.com, and perhaps CNN to get the days news. That and NPR in the car and I'm covered.

The only thing I use real newsprint for these days is for the bird cage and for packing stuff to ship.

I think the market is definitely going down fast for traditional newspapers. It's yet another industry forever changed by computers.

Let's start a list of now or soon to be defunct "industries" replaced by computers:

Music Engraving
Architechtural design
music recording
motion pictures


 4:35 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

sitting on the beach with a copy of The Economist

Okay, good. There's more than one of us ;-)


 4:44 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Where do you get local news for free? Who reported
> it?

> Local sports?

I get it from the local newspaper's web site?


 4:56 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like reading my favourite journalists lying in bed. Laptops are not good bed companions. Laptop screens also put out a lot less light than is reflected off paper.

You can take your paper anywhere and it doesn't need a connection. Its battery doesn't run out. A paper fits under your arm and doesn't break when you drop it.

Your kids don't cost you 1500$ when they spill a drink on your paper.

You don't need to scroll or click with a paper.

And what about the comment? I prefer reading journalist comment to blog dross.

You can eat your fish and chips from a paper too!

There is much more to a paper than news.

Disclaimer: I am not a journalist and have nothing to do with the industry :)


 5:18 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Newspapers are more portable than a computer (even a laptop), and they're a lot easier to read at the breakfast table--especially if you're sharing the table with a kid who might knock over a glass of milk. :-) They're also more convenient if you're sitting on a bus or standing on the subway.

Mind you, I say that as a middle-aged guy who grew up with printed media. My older son, who's a university student, gets practically all of his news online. (For that matter, I get most of my international and national news by checking the headlines in Google News and a few major newspaper sites, relying on my metropolitan paper mostly for local news.)

In the United States, newspapers were in decline long before the Internet came along--partly because of TV (which, though shallow, is free and easily for illiterates to digest) but also because of changing commuter trends. Until the 1950s or 1960s, most American families had one car and people relied more heavily on public transportation--which meant they had time to fill by reading a newspaper (even if only the sports pages).


 5:40 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Everyone predicted the death of cinema when VHS came along.

Newspaper circulations will undoubtedly decline, then they will experience a slight revival. Then they will stabilise.

I doubt online news distribution will have as dramatic an effect on newspaper consumption as email had on sending letters / faxes.


 5:54 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

My morning coffee doesn't taste very good without the good old newspaper in my hands.


 6:07 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Newspapers are easier to read and have more and larger pictures than news sites. They're also less anti-social: remember that many people have their PC located somewhere in the attic / basement. They remain accessible when something big happens. I can spend hours reading the weekend paper (or the Economist ;) ); can't say that for any news site.

News sites are great for fast and short pieces of information. My paper gives me full access to their online archives, which is a very nice feature.


 6:20 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

As somebody who obtains most news from the net , but as a preference I prefer reading in print version the WSJ as it takes me away from the PC and allows me to read a much wider range of articles and information than i would otherwise

News media will change over time and online reading of news by visitors can supply a new source of revenue with the advent of contextual advertising,
The difficulty for the news industry is balancing the experience of the reader to the amount of advertising on the site ,

I have seen good and bad implementaions on some of the major news sites around the world with many news sites implementing the type and amount of advertising that was placed on web sites 3 years ago and possibly alienating the visitor

The advantages to moving to online news distibution is the savings obtained by the cost of distribution and we may find that the paper based news for those who wish to continue and have major preferences will increase in price over time.

just my jottings


 7:00 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I much prefer reading printed media. Who wants to read google news while on the toilet? If there is a long paper on line - I prefer to print it out and read it. I would say 95% of my printer use goes to stuff just to be printed - read - then thrown away later.

Newspapers won't be able to control the news as they once did, but there are still plenty who prefer to read it.

However, I must admit I don't subscribe to one - and only read the paper while traveling.

I would subscribe to one if the internet wasn't here. I guess it depends on how much you want to read. Fact is NEW NEWS - like so and so has been shot is much better on the web - and too old for newspapers. More in depth investigations and such are better carried in the paper.

Most of the new news isn't done by papers themselves, but picked up from service such as AP. Did the papers really think they could get away with that forever?


 7:03 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

My local newspaper sells for about 0.25 cents higher than most newspapers, and there isn't much knowing about what's going on around this area since no website has information on it (even if there was a website... I'm not convinced people would take it).

So there isn't much compitition for areas like mine and newspapers will thrive on for a while.


 7:20 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Will newspapers die? I doubt it.

Will they adapt? I'm sure of it!

And so will their readers.


 8:06 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

The ROI for reading newspapers has been steadily falling.

News is mostly recycled material with the names changed.


 8:23 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ever tried to wrap fish in a ThinkPad...?


 8:32 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

And when young people go online, they tend to browse for news in much the same way they window-shop for jeans or sneakers: sampling a headline here, a blog entry there, a snippet of a story there, until their news cravings are satisfied.

thats not how one gets educated about a topic. supperficiality is invading every aspect of our lives, everything has to be condensed, quick and to the point. but somweher along the line we can easily loose alot of our critical thinking (and its occuring in many places, just look at the latest elections that occured around the world) and get fooled. one needs to read those long stories, published in professional papers and books, which generate real revenue and can pay for real journalists. half the stuff on the web is hard to trust. and the culture of 3 line paragraphs does not teach anything that you cant learn on the radio in you car.

people that predict the death of print media are fools. online media needs to find ways of heavily monetizing its product, which I dont see happenign in the near future. and personal blogs, through their sheer number can probably reveal some bigger truths, but I rather trust an expert in a particular topic, someone who has dedicated his life to that topic.


 8:54 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some months ago, Brett made a statement to the effect that since Google News has hit the scene it has the newsprint crowd quaking in their boots.

I have to say I agree 100% with that statement.

If you take away the huge portion of a typical daily newspaper that's merely reprinted wire-service material; and take away the portion of local news that you could care less about; there really isn't much left over.

Also consider print media's 24 hour cycle. Often times you're reading yesterday's news. Fine for spelling-bee results and who caught the 20-pounder up at Moose lake, but way behind the times for most people's needs.

And that's all with the net still in its infancy.


 9:35 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Its been several years now since I dropped all the daily newspapers and went online for news.

The only thing I miss is the pile of newspapers I hauled to the trash each week, the day-old news, the clutter in my living room, and the newsprint smudges on my white sofa, and of coarse the routine payments.

I've even pretty much given up television for the news, since I don't have to sit through commercials online.

Also gave up the Weather Channel on television for online weather a couple years ago. What a waste of time it was sitting through endless commercials on TV for a brief moment of weather reports.

This is the 21st century folks. Forget printing presses. I'm one of the ones you can't give a free newspaper subscription to.


 10:37 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)


I was deeply involved last year on a web news project with 400 newspapers across the county. I discovered how people read the news on the web.

Here's a number for you: 1.7
That's the average number of page views per user per day on the typical news site. WSJ, Yahoo, CNN, and (especially) NYT will be higher. But, not much. Five page views per user a day is considered wildly wonderful.

What does that mean? People go to the front page, read the headlines, and MAYBE go to one story that interest them.

I am now an editor of a newspaper. We are one of the few papers who do not put much on their web site. And it makes readers angry. They have to buy the newspaper. We will not even run a list of all of the stories we are running. They have to buy the newspaper.

This summer Associated Press launched an effort to develop a news search engine. "We feel news consumers deserve the most current and relevant information they can find online," was what Burl Osborne, chairman of the AP's board of directors, said. But what he meant was "to hell with free."

They put it this way. "We need greater protection from unlicensed use of our members' material online."
The AP is also developing tools that would help its members capture more online traffic and track usage of their content. I think they are wasting their time. Newspapers and AP need to pull their content off line. AP, which is a co-op of newspapers, needs to tell Yahoo to go jump in the lake.

I'm watching with interest the new micropayment systems, such as Peppercoin. But, tell me, with only 1.7 page views per visitor, how are you going to make that pay? Even if you tripled that several times, you'd not have the economic impact of print.

I subscribe to WSJ.com. Have for a couple of years. It costs me about $50 or so a year. I don't get the print version. I used to spend 20 or more with the WSJ print version, often at my desk during coffee. Now, I bet it averages 2 to 3 minutes. And, yeah, I use the filters to track news on what I'm interested in and read those. Those great features? I look at the headlines, but, nah, I don't bother.

There is nowhere near the serendipity of print with online. Print brings you stuff you didn't know you needed to know. Including the ads.

Print isn't going away. In J-school you learn propaganda theory. It a basic rule of communications: People remember the information, but they don't remember the source. It's why ads work as well as they do. ("Chevy is a great car!") Only print provides a serendipity where you can deliver messages in an affordable way.


 11:06 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi and welcome to the forums!

I disagree with this statement:
Only print provides a serendipity where you can deliver messages in an affordable way.

I think it's the opposite - print is the much more expensive way to go, and online is the cheapest.

With print, you first have to set it in some form of type, whether with a computer or not, then have to buy the print stock, then physically print it, each and every day. If the papers aren't sold, they are recycled, but not used right away. And there is the expense of delivering it to each and every news stand.

With online delivery, the cost is minimal - you still have to "set" it, but people come to you, there is no delivery charge, the only charges are hosting and bandwidth.

I have little or no use for "real" newspapers anymore.


 11:55 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Also consider print media's 24 hour cycle. Often times you're reading yesterday's news.

Hmm. Sounds just like Google News. Stuff doesn't make the front page until enough articles are written on the topic, so there is usually quite a delay. If you want real breaking news, you need newsfeeds (yuck) or to go to a real online news publisher.

Does anyone know what Google pays for the feeds they use on Google News? Whatever it is it's not enough. If 6000 news companies are going to lose their audiences (as predicted) to google they will have to survive on news feed revenues alone! If they don't survive, where will Google get the content from?

I am also wondering when radio is going to die out. That was supposed to happen around 1934 when TV appeared.


 12:33 am on Nov 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it's the opposite - print is the much more expensive way to go, and online is the cheapest.

I think the cost is in the actual people required to write the articles, produce the stories, sell the adverts etc - ie to create the 'value' - rather than in the cost of the distribution medium.

The 'news' revenue model for many newspapers is to then sell the paper product - i.e. sell one distribution medium - while giving the 'electronic' web version away for free.

Would you pay for an online subscription to whatever 'online' free major newspaper you read today?


 2:00 am on Nov 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

cost is in the actual people required to write the articles, etc.

You're right about that - plum forgot - shame on me.

That is the REAL cost of producing it. But I think that cost would be similar if it were a web based news service as well.

I think I would pay a small subscription if I had to get NY Times online for a fee. It would depend on the fee.

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