What is their online strategy – I remember exchanging letters with the publisher a couple of years back about the failings of their online version and am still amazed that they don’t place everything online – though perhaps that is them being smart.
What I find interesting (considering how respected the Post, the NYTimes and the WSJ are) is the number of US newspapers that don’t have a online strategy. Recently, one newspaper (I think it was one of the west coast newspapers) asked its readers what sort of online strategy it should have, others have started asking the journalists in the news room as they couldn’t come up with one themselves. One idea proposed today is that all the newspapers should gang up and embargo their print stories by 24 hours before they appear on the web. Somehow I don’t think that would work. The bottom line is that the NYTimes has only been able to persuade 40,000 people to pay $50 per year to gain access to their web site. They have more than 1 million print subscribers who pay between $99-200 per year. Something like 15,000 people subscribe to a digital edition of Science or Nature. Considering the global reach of an online audience this suggests that current strategies will not work, unless they can persuade internet users to subscribe to print or make online ads more effective. The Post has taken a different take to get younger readers. Free cut down editions on the subway with lousy editorial standards. People treat the newspaper like trash and they only read it because they have nothing better to read. I think its a wrong business model. One thing they are doing right, is that you can easily link to flickr, declious, and other blogs from any article on their web site, probably one of their smarter decisions.
That may be true in full-time employment, but a freelance like me does/has all those things. The question is how far that extends out of the technology, um, ghetto.
Comment by wg — Monday 20 November 2006 @ 12:53 am
I think the disconnect between today’s generations and the generations that have control of the media is placed in excellent context. However, I do not think we have to see the BBC in the way presented in that nifty web site. Some of the key words that people ‘actually want to read’ include Tom and Katie, honeymoon, cruise, nintendo, etc – as compared to the BBC’s Blair, pakistan, musharraf, etc.
As a society, it seems obvious we want our coming generations to be fed with politically aware information over gossip and video games. How sad would it be if Tom and Kate and Nintendo take over the cover pages of our online magazines as a result of user demand? This is the type of ‘democracy’ that we should be afraid of.
I think the issue is more that, usually, when the BBC does a report on say, the Nintendo Wii, is usually done by a 50 year old who has a hearty laugh with the co-host about how this ‘machine’ is, and the review is usually terrible and completely out of touch. Sort of like how I recently saw the President of NBC call MySpace, Myplace.
I think it will be cool to see a generation of journalists who are still in touch with history, politics and the issues that ‘matter’ but can also be in tune with technology (journalists who can program is an excellent idea) and not always just surprised and out of touch with what it does.