Monday, September 24, 2007

For newspapers, transition from print to online a huge, but not impossible, hurdle

More than ten years after the Internet began stealing ad dollars and eyeballs away from the daily newspapers, newspaper-publishing companies still struggle to figure out a business model that works in the new media landscape.

John C. Dvorak offered his commentary on the jam newspaper publishers are in. MarketWatch. "As more newspapers make the mistake of eliminating reporting jobs, they fall into the pit of redundancy with nothing special to offer. There are no foreign correspondents anymore. There are hardly any stringers on the site of breaking stories any more."

Tens of thousands of journalists have lost jobs during the past decade's industry upheaval, but thousands more have survived the calamity by developing multi-platform skills that enhance their expertise and value. Many publishers – Tribune Company included – are employing the new skills and expert talent of their print reporters, editors, designers, copy editors and photographers in the development and production of original content unique only to their site.

Building a loyal online readership is taking a long time — arguably too long. But some of our employers are well on the way to figuring out a new workable business model because a) they know the old one is no longer working, b) they know change has to happen and happen NOW, and c) they're including in the decision-making processes their workers' ideas and expertise and in some cases, placing them in crucial roles that will help effectuate the transition to new media.

With the advent of the television medium, radio feared its own demise. Like radio, newspapers will survive the transition to online by not only finding its own niche, but employing the top-flight seasoned journalists who can make it all happen. (end of post)

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