I need someone to explain this to me.

Tech leaders enlisted to help the newspaper industry

Call to help newspapers

It is pretty obvious to everyone that the newspaper industry is in a tiny bit of trouble. They have thus far failed to reach the rapidly changing landscape of news, online news at that. They must do something to keep our interests up, or end up flailing on the ground. Microsoft and Google among others have recently entered the picture with solutions to the problem and some fresh eyes from a digital perspective.

Leading edge tech companies enterend the picture with a plea from the Newspaper Association of America on how they can monetize content online through transactions or enhanced ad targeting. Microsoft submitted a news river system that resembles TweetDeck and Sobees. Google is looking at developing an extension of Google Checkout that would help newspapers charge for content through a micropayment system. IBM as well as Oracle have submitted proposals that look at the use of content management systems.

So far the only shining example of the possibilities newspapers have to push things forward is Microsoft’s Next Generation Newspaper that pulls in all sorts of data such as RSS feeds, photos, videos, updates and news from across multiple news as well as social networks, into an information hub. So what does all of this mean for you? Newspapers might not be dead, they are in the hot seat and looking at the best of the best to help them out of the jam with intuitive solutions that meet today’s news viewing needs.

What would you like to see newspapers do to engage you as an online news viewer?

[via NiemanLabs]

Comments

  1. Kendall says:

    I look to my local news agencies to find out what’s going on locally. I do not mind advertising as long as it’s not obnoxious. My biggest complaints are that many expect me to register and their search capabilities are poor. (I can search for an article that I see on the front page and not get that article in the result set.)

    Additionally, timestamping the article in an obvious way would be helpful.

  2. Burzmali says:

    Charge for content and people stop reading. It can’t get any simpler than that.

  3. babble.ws says:

    Fuck em.

  4. seamonkey420 says:

    fuck em indeed.

    did we hold up the telegraph industry when phones become more widespread??

    nope. better tech/industries replace old, antiquated ones.

    thats the nature of change/progression/life.

  5. James says:

    I’d want news, in paper form. I wouldn’t want a printed out blog-style thing, or something that “pulls in all sorts of data such as RSS feeds, photos, videos, updates and news from across multiple news as well as social networks, into an information hub” because that just sounds plain /wank/.

    Just tell me what’s going on locally, with pictures, and stuff relevant to general life. I can get all the world news I like from the Internet, but none of that tells me about the new shopping centre being built down the road, or the massive traffic jams its construction will cause.

    And you can bugger off with the idea of micropayments. Cheeky sods. I’ll just go somewhere else to get my fix of news.

    PS World – stop trying to “monetize” everything. Stop trying to syphon small change out my bank account in return for content.

    You see, news is either massive, widely covered stuff that the whole country will eventually hear about from multiple sources, or it’s so small and worthless that you don’t really need to know. Most news, after all, is completely irrelevant to everyone’s daily life.

    The idea of paying for information that I can find out for free, or that by tomorrow I won’t care about is bananas.

  6. Saf says:

    What the newspaper companies need to do is this;

    Make E-paper tablets, setup some sort of update point in local newsagents, then sell these E-paper tablets at cost (keep it under £10 if possible). Then when anyone wants a newspaper, they just goto the local paper shop, supermarket etc and update the E-paper with the new issue for a small fee.

    Maybe even make the E-paper micro sd card run? Then they just have to keep a small keychain attachment for storing their micro sd card, that way they can also save copies of old papers on their pc/laptop etc and plug the sd card into the E-paper tablet to re-read anytime they want.

    The newspaper comapnies will save millions since they no longer have to print all the papers, no longer have to distribute them nor collect the un-sold ones and recycle them.

    All that will be necessary is a reliable distribution server, connecting all these stores to anyone’s E-paper to update to the new newpaper!

    Once all the newspaper companies come onboard, the running costs will be substancially lower since they all contribute towards the running of the main distribution server, but customers have an option of which paper to buy at the store.

  7. Joel says:

    Did anyone read the recent essay on this topic by Paul Graham?

    He posits that the medium has always been the product: publishers are in the business of marking up paper, and treat content the way textiles companies treat the patterns they print on fabric. Comparing the cost per page for Time vs. The Economist, he notes that paper carrying good journalism tends to be a little cheaper.

    Interesting read.

    If his thesis is correct, I guess publishers could survive by putting their content on thin-format USB flash drives. Hard to have enough of those around.

  8. J H says:

    They should just offer the news free. They could offer the content for free as unformatted text and sell a news reading device that supported nice/ customizable formatting with the cost of the device paying their fees.

  9. BigD145 says:

    Educate people properly and promote book reading and you’ll save the newspaper industry. Problem solved.

  10. Ugly American says:

    Newspapers are just tentacles of huge anational conglomerates that do nothing but take corporate, government & lobby group press releases and repackage them with advertising.

    I have 0 sympathy for them.

    For example, GE is the largest military contractor in the entire world. Despite multiple fines & criminal convictions for fraud, they are still allowed to own & operate a very long list of media companies that happily promote war, government pork contracts & other GE products. All without most people ever realizing the conflict of interest.

    We should have a ‘Truth in Naming’ law that each company can only do business under a single name so that everyone can know who they’re really dealing with.

  11. SexieWASD says:

    I really would hate to have my doggy peeing on a new e-tablet every week, besides nothing soaks up coffee rings like sub par journalism. Unless the absorptive properties of E-ink displays improve I’ll be sticking with the paper kind of local news.

  12. Saf says:

    SexieWASD Good point, but then again thats why they have kitchen rolls lol. Then again what will we dry our windows with after cleaning them :P.

  13. pcjones says:

    As a web developer for a small town news paper, I see the industry moving away from the title “news paper” and becoming strictly “news”. Paper is just another means of getting news in your face, just like the e-tablets are. Breaking news and multi media along with outstanding journalism will save this industry.

    Though revenue from print advertising is still tremendously larger then that from web advertising. We all know that charging for content will lead to loss of visitors, thus less value for advertising. So I predict that will never happen. What I see happening is more intrusive ads based on behavioral targeted advertising with free access to content.

    Classifieds are another story though. With craigslist taking over it is going to be harder and harder to sell classified ads. Though with increased inovations of displaying classifieds this could change.

    All in all this industry is evolving rapidly and is an awesome thing to be a part of.

  14. democratsarefascists says:

    Since all Democrats think exactly alike, why do they need these propaganda rags?

    Just read the day’s talking points from the White House, cut out the middleman and save the $1.50.

    As the Soviets used to say about Pravda, why read a newspaper when you know what will be in it, and that what will be in it is lies? The same lies as the day before.

  15. Apothus says:

    Whilst this is an interesting topic i see no relevance to hacking in this.

    Maybe i am the minority on this one but i dont think this post is relevant to the sites content.

  16. Mitch T says:

    I can’t help but feel everyone is missing the point. Without newspapers funding professional journalists who is going to pay for the hard, non entertainment, news. Who will be the new institution with the ethical(and financial) clout to stand up when a story needs to be told?

    So far online journalism seems to either be crap or a rehash of paper journalism. Do anyone even put out real hard journalism these days? How many could even recognize it or care?

    Further, if we all pick and choose our news bits soon news will start to try and only be what we want to see.

    Making everything free doesn’t solve everything, and every old paradigm isn’t inferior.

  17. Roly says:

    It’s Murdoch who is mounting this push to “monetize” news sites. As a fellow countryman I witnessed his “race for the bottom” (no page 3 pun intended) in Australia long before he went forth to take over the world.

    His newspaper group contains the very worst of the sensationalist bottom feeders. His tabloid in my city is the Herald-Sun aka “The Hun” for its shock-jock luna-Right (and anti-Interweb) editoral policies and columnists. For example, while the smoke was still clearing from our bushfire disaster that killed 200 people last summer one Hun columnist seriously called for the public lynching of “Greenies”.

    A few papers here tried an on-line “first item for free, then you have to register (for free)” model and readers stayed away in droves – they wouldn’t even log in, much less pay. Lasted less than a year.

    I still buy a physical newspaper most days because I find on-line content lacking in depth (and I can’t read it in bed).

    The recording industry is flogging a dead business model and now Murdoch has joined them. Hell will freeze over before Murdoch gets one microcent out of me towards his next billion.

    @Joel
    Similarly the so-called “music” industry has in reality been selling plastic media and is clueless now the music has decoupled from plastic.

    Newspapers do not exist to bring readers the news. They exist to deliver readers to their advertisers.

  18. bish says:

    Ok, I dunno what they should do in the short-term, but if they’re still kicking around longer-term, their solution seems obvious – once eink tech is dirt cheap (which it will be) and light and thin like a sheet of paper (which it will be), sell single sheet ereaders tied to their news content, for a few pounds/dollars. Make the esheet reusable/chargeable and it’d get quick adoption due to its novelty gadget value. Tie it to a subscription fee of 50p/50c, and boom, they’ve got thousands more regular customers than they’ve ever had, and once you’ve got them reading and liking the news, they’re not going to stop just to save a few pennies… Plenty of revenue, and people don’t mind paying because it comes in a physical form.

    Add in some smart software to make the paper more relevant to the consumer (RSS reader style), and all of a sudden you’ve got a cheap to make-and-sell product which draws in more than enough income to cover the journalism costs, and the print/distribution costs are next-to-zero (obviously not really, but much, much cheaper than current paper-printing and shipping). It’s just a game of waiting for the tech to become cheap enough, and then a competition for who can make the best soft-interface (and the best content, it ought to go without saying…).

  19. Anony Mouse says:

    i’m a news carrier, (paperboy), for a major corporation,(hurst). .50 cent newspapers are now 1.00, and sundays are now 2.00. The houston chronicle lied to the public and the store retailers about the price increase, they claim the increase was due to the higher cost of delivery, being gas prices are so high.
    I really don’t understand why the price of the paper doubled, wilst my paycheck was halved.
    We also had to sign a contract that states we cannot disclose our wages to anyone.
    I grossed a whole 5000 dollars last year. My distributor changed the name of it’s business six months into the contract.I have to pay 2300 dollars for self employment taxes, to both business names. (4600 dollars).
    I hope the cocksuckers go down in flames.

    NEVER EVER trust the mormons. They are thieving lying, pedos.

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