It looks like a few people with blogs sure do! Let's start this with my standard disclaimer - I work for the local newspaper. I'm biased. And I love any talk about - for or against - newspapers. I don't write for the paper - I market it. Mark Goren at Transmission Marketing posted on an award-winning newspaper ad campaign and asks the question
"But did it sell any newspapers?"
"Any other ideas to help newspapers grow their readership, whether in print or online?"
Allow me a little ramble here. Its not my intent to be simplistic or presumptuous. But I do speak with pride. I think newspapers too often get a bum rap. Let's assume we all want a perspective on local news. It's what has sold the newspaper since the turn of the 20th century when more and more publishers got presses. For the purpose of this post, I'm talking US newspapers. Prior to that most of the news came from the big cities via transportation like Pony Express, the Union Pacific, etc. People got the news from the "national" viewpoint during the western US expansion. It provided (and still does) a daily history. I've recently read 3 books - Team of Rivals, Devil in the White City, and The Worst Hard Time - and am astounded at the local newspapers that are cited in both the prose and the bibliography.
But more than merely wanting a perspective on local news - we want to be part of the community. We want to know what's going on around us. As intelligent humans, we have a strong desire to help create a thriving environment where we exist. A local newspaper provides an "avenue of discovery" we can travel down. We want to be part of the solution - not the problem - and a good newspaper reports on the community. Good news and bad news - 365 days a year (366 in leap year) - and now, with online websites, 24/7.
Altruistic? Probably - and still circulation declines - one subscriber at a time. Readership is another measurement altogether. Some recent research shows total newspaper readership - which counts online - among 25-34 year olds is up 15% (source:Scarborough 2006) . A recent story in Editor & Publisher (industry bias to be sure) says the same thing in a different way. What we do here is give full online access to home delivery subscribers. We call it added value. You can subscribe online only for $7 a month - but I get home delivery so haven't paid real close attention.
If you are a local newspaper reader - Bravo - keep reading! My guess is that most of you are. When you get a chance - visit the paper in Spokane (links are everywhere on this blog:). Most of the website is accessible. Tell me what you think - or not. We have a long way to go in exposing the overall value of newspapers.
Here's an informative page -regarding advertising - from the Newspaper Association of America.
And thank you David, Mark, Lewis, Cam, Cord, and Robyn for carrying on the newspaper conversation. As our editor says - News is a Conversation.