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Powazek on newsweeklies

2010-05-07 19:28:43.924363+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Derek Powazek: How To Save A Newsweekly in 5 Easy* Steps.

His #1 is crucial, too many newspapers treat their comments area as a dumping ground and don't engage with their readers; watching the difference between the Twitter discussion locally, that includes some of the local paper's reporters, and what happens on the paper's web site and what they publish, is very telling.

I'm not sure I need a paper version any more, so I'd ditch his suggestion #2. On #3, make it a web site. Don't lock it to the iPad/iPhone/iTouch, those platforms are going to get overrun shortly (and I say that as someone who's spending the day deep in iPad application coding), buying in to the lock-in only makes sense if you've got features which take advantage of those systems, and that's going to cost more than a local news outlet can support.

And the #5 is basically "engage the community that you're reporting on". This should be obvious to anyone publishing a local newspaper...

[ related topics: Journalism and Media Community iPhone ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-12 22:05:18.718887+00 by: meuon

spc476: Thanks, I needed that link and got a laugh for today. :)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-12 20:08:08.741512+00 by: spc476

I find B.C. and Beatle Bailey (as well as a host of others) funnier at The Comics Curmudgeon.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-12 03:36:45.39508+00 by: meuon

Hey; I still laugh at B.C. and Beatle Bailey.. The 6 times a year I see them in a print newspaper.. usually shoved under my door at some hotel.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-09 20:41:20.189522+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, actually I suppose I'm not qualified to judge #2 other than to say it takes a hell of a lot for me to let paper into the house any more. So I'm not a market for #2. However, I'm also pretty sure that those who are are the older failing market that newspapers are currently pandering to. I believe that the people who care about a paper version are also the people who are still laughing at B.C. and Beatle Bailey; pick and choose your market.

On "ethical issues in reporting", can we finally come down to "that's a myth"? I mean, yeah, maybe there are some lines about paying for illegally acquired evidence (*cough* Gizmodo *cough*) that shouldn't be crossed, but part of gaining access is building friendships and relationships, reporters are doing that, hiding that fact just makes us mistrust news. Having those conversations in more public spaces, as at least parts of our local papers are starting to do in Twitter conversations, will help a whole lot to regain trust among a readership that's become mistrustful.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-09 14:22:08.512942+00 by: ebradway

I disagree with your disagreement on #2. I think his point is to make a print version that makes a profit on each sale - and is worth buying. It's a good model for local newspapers because there's usually about 25 pages of good content per month in almost an community.

I disagree about #3 from the basis that any news source isn't a unique application. There's no need for separate applications. That's what HTML was designed for.

I'm not sure how much it's possible to successfully engage "the community" when you are not a local new source. One way, perhaps, is to have writers encourage people involved in the story to read and write in the comments. Adds credence to the story content. But I'm betting that touches on ethical issues in reporting.