As of the end of , about 25 percent of people in the U. For print and broadcast organizations, this means a core group of their audience remains wedded to traditional products and often resistant to getting news online. A steady decline in print circulation and a precipitous drop in advertising revenue in and , especially classified advertising, have taken their toll on newspapers and newspaper chains. Some have been forced out of business, such as the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post Intelligencer at least its print operation — an online-only version continues and the Ann Arbor News which also will continue an online edition as well as a print product twice a week.
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Others, such as Morris Publishing and Affiliated Media the parent company of MediaNews Group , did bankruptcy reorganization filings prearranged with creditors. Paul, Seattle, Detroit and Tucson. Newspapers have taken a variety of other measures to save money, preserve the print product, and try to weather the storm:. Some papers are also changing the kind of coverage provided in the print product, focusing less on breaking news, which the Internet is much better suited to deliver, and more on analytical or contextual stories. For example, compare the front page of the print edition of the Arizona Republic with the home page of azcentral.
The website is updated throughout the day with breaking news and shorter articles, and offers searchable services like events calendars, dining guides, etc. Some newspapers are going a step further and dropping the least profitable of their daily editions — usually Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Examples of newspapers eliminating editions see also this list compiled by AP.
The hope is that enough readers and thus advertisers will remain local to the print product that revenues will not decline substantially. But breaking the daily news reading habit threatens to further erode print audience loyalty and accelerate the existing decline in newspaper readership. To ease the transition for older readers still wedded to the newspaper format, some newspapers also offer a digital edition online.
But there is little evidence that such digital editions are very popular with readers, and critics say they are transplanting a print format into a medium that demands a very different product. Ken Doctor, a long-time analyst and consultant on digital media, especially newspapers, has said:. See also this Associated Press story about the experiences of the Detroit papers a year after they dropped home delivery of the printed paper on some days and launched an electronic edition. MinnPost also has a story and a chart about how successful e-editions have been for newspapers.
Some magazines, especially general interest publications, also are reducing their pages or cutting back on the number editions they publish. See this New York Times story about the changes weekly news magazines are undergoing.
National broadcast news networks similarly have considered paring back nightly news shows, which tumbled in popularity during the s, largely due to the advent of cable news and then the Internet. Local television stations have seen more recent declines in viewership and advertising revenues. This means having reporters and editors think first about reporting and producing text and multimedia stories for the web, then writing a text story for the print edition.
But producing stories for the traditional news or broadcast products usually still had top priority. In , the Tampa Tribune moved toward a web-first approach. In a web-first approach, the main focus often is on breaking news and getting those stories on the web as fast as possible, on a hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week news cycle. Other publications have emphasized getting all reporters and editors to focus on putting breaking news and other stories on the web, rather than having a separate staff handle story updates for the Internet edition. In these cases, the publications usually must undergo major reorganizations of their newsrooms and try to train most or all of their editorial staff in writing for the web and producing multimedia.
Examples of newspapers and other media that adopted a web-first or multimedia strategy. News media companies that adopt a web-first strategy face a competitive environment very different from traditional print or broadcast environments.
Their major rivals for the attention of readers and viewers often are not other traditional news organizations, but non-profit organizations, private corporations, online-only startups or even government agencies that have turned to the web to get out their message. They often carve out niche markets on the Internet that compete with the websites of traditional news organizations.
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And its founder, Craig Newmark, puts a strong emphasis on customer service. While in the past newspapers were almost the only source of news about high school sports, online startups like MaxPreps now dominate that market online in many cities. Professional sports organizations have their own websites that provide a depth of coverage on teams, especially statistical data on players, that rivals or surpasses the information produced by newspapers or other local news organizations.
It includes audio and video feeds of games and deep databases on team and player stats.
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Louis Rams football team. As a result, local sports fans are by-passing newspapers or local TV stations to get information on their teams, and some newspapers are cutting back on their coverage of professional sports. Concerned about the decline in print newspaper sports coverage of local teams, Dallas Mavericks basketball team owner Mark Cuban has proposed that professional sports organizations subsidize sports beat reporters at local newspapers.
When newspapers cut back their staffs, science reporters are often the first to go. NASA, meanwhile, has been expanding its website to directly reach people interested in astronomy. The U. The Traffic. Widgets called Traffic Magnets can be embedded on a blog or website to display local traffic conditions.
The concept of Web 2.
That led to the Web 2. In general Web 2. For news organizations, Web 2. Practically it means everything from engaging people on blogs, online forums and social networks, to promoting user generated content and providing more personalized content for mobile devices such as cellphones. Many news organizations are now embracing the Web 2.
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The Bivings Group, in a survey of the websites of the largest newspapers, found that:. One of the most basic ways that a news organization can engage people is to provide a way for them to comment on and discuss news stories on the website and postings to staff weblogs. Newspapers and magazines have long allowed public comment in the form of letters to the editor. They are a way of engaging people in a conversation about the news and recognizing that a story does not end with its publication, but rather is a starting point for generating commentary and contributions by the public.
Only a very small percentage of readers usually will comment on any given news story or blog posting, and most comments will be made by a relative handful of frequent posters who may not be representative of general readership. A few people also will post comments that are offensive or disruptive, quickly turning an intelligent discussion into an online food fight. Another major problem is spammers, who will bombard comments with messages that hawk products or promote online scams.
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Because of the offensive postings, a number of news organizations have closed down comments — either temporarily or permanently — after the discussions degenerated into name calling or worse. The Washington Post, for example, shut down comments on its post. News organizations also feel the nasty and offensive comments threaten their brands as reputable sources of news. Besides commenting on individual stories, many news organizations provide online forums or discussion boards where people can start conversations and post comments.
Forums allow more control by users because they can pick the topics they want to discuss, rather than just responding to a news story. For example, check out the dozens of online forums the Cleveland Plain Dealer hosts on its cleveland. Online forums have proliferated at many other websites besides online publications. Boardtracker is a search engine for finding online forums by topic. But online forums face many of the same problems as allowing comments on stories and blog entries — offensive postings by a relative handful of disruptive people and postings by spammers.
The problem of off-topic and offensive postings and spam is one that has plagued the Internet for years. Another form of communicating with readers and soliciting comments is an online chat with reporters, editors or people in the news. Chat has a long history on the Internet, dating to the introduction in of Internet Relay Chat.
For news organizations and journalists, online chats improve transparency, allowing people to ask questions about how a story was reported or written and providing insight into how a news organization operates. Blogs are a reference to both a form of publishing content online and the software programs that make such publishing very easy for the average person.
Websites that later were referred to as the first weblogs surfaced in the mid s.
They often were short postings to static web pages of updates on particular topics by people interested in those subjects. In a company called Pyra, which was developing project management software, released a software program — Blogger — that made it simple to set up and constantly update a website. For the first several years, blogging was mostly done by people working in the technology sector or hobbyists in other fields. And their postings were usually very short and just informative.
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