Will Newspapers Survive?
Do you like your printed newspaper, delivered to you each morning. Newspapers could be extinct if they don’t change their ways. Here are some ideas – tongue-in-cheek (or not) for you to consider and add your own ideas.
There will still be print newspapers hundreds of years from now. Of course that statement comes with a few qualifiers. There’s no doubt that newspapers – at least those that come in paper form – are in danger. If a paper doesn’t have a profitable online component it’s probably doomed. If you think newspapers are important and need to survive, you might be thinking of ways newspapers can improve to ensure their future. Here are some of my ideas for how the print media can do better and help themselves. Feel free to contribute your own ideas.
DON’T GIVE IT AWAY
First, newspapers have to stop giving away their content for free. As the major news gatherers, newspapers collect more information than any other entity. But, foolishly they let websites and search engines aggregate their information at no cost, which is then re-packaged and distributed for free. That’s a sure fire plan for disaster. Unless newspapers change this dynamic they are indeed doomed.
IS ELECTRONIC CHEAPER?
However, newspapers can count on a couple of facts that aren’t going away. It’s harder and less easy to read and carry around an electronic device to get your news. I tried out one of the new electronic Kindle-like devices recently and I can attest to the fact that it is a lot more difficult to use than the simple act of turning a newspaper page. Newspapers are also cheaper. Does anyone think that your cost of downloading a newspaper or book on an electronic device won’t continue to escalate, as they become bigger and bigger moneymakers? Stick with the print newspaper and you are certain to get a better bargain. The cost of a newspaper is almost recovered by the food coupons you can cut out of it every week.
But, there’s not doubt that newspapers are in trouble and other than changing their economic model there may be some things that newspapers should consider to resurrect themselves. Here’s a list of ideas (only some to be taken seriously).
1. More comics – no one really wants to read the depressing news about the economy, wars, health care, politics, etc. So, to get readers to pay attention drop more comics into the news section. It’ll lighten up the reading immensely. What better ways to swallow the bad news than with a dose of Peanuts right along side the fact that your 401k and other investments are now a 101k.
2. Have the newspaper delivered by the same type of folks that get jobs as Walmart greeters. They are so friendly and chipper they’ll brighten up your day no matter what bad news is in the paper.
3. All newspaper have to be delivered by a machine that will be guaranteed to land on the front door step and not in the bushes or the driveway where a neighbor’s sprinklers make it a soggy mess before it is picked up.
4. Change the names. The names of newspapers are too old and stodgy. Why bother reading a Wall Street Journal when you could have something called the Gigglin’ Jillian’s Money News and Laughs. Or, something like that. It won’t have to mean a change in content, but it’ll match up to some of the goofy names of web-based news.
5. More contests. The web is full of them, each trying to get you to browse its site. So, why can’t newspapers do the same? Wouldn’t you be interested in winning a couple of hundred bucks a week to, say, identify a celebrity based on a selection of photos of navels?
I’m sure you could find similar ideas for newspapers to consider (journalistic integrity notwithstanding). Why not add a note to this article with your idea?