Monday, December 04, 2006

Online and Hyper-Local NewsPapers

WaPo reported a great experiment [is] being conducted by their corporate parent, McLean-based newspaper giant Gannett, which is trying to remake the very definition of a newspaper. Losing readers and revenue to the Internet and other media, newspapers are struggling to stay relevant and even afloat. Gannett's answer is radical. The chain's papers are redirecting their newsrooms to focus on the Web first, paper second.

Good plan. Print newspapers are a dying breed.
Papers are slashing national and foreign coverage and beefing up "hyper-local," street-by-street news. They are creating reader-searchable databases on traffic flows and school class sizes. Web sites are fed with reader-generated content, such as pictures of their kids with Santa. In short, Gannett -- at its 90 papers, including USA Today -- is trying everything it can think of to create Web sites that will attract more readers.
What we really need now is for the reporters to join into an AP-like service making their news items available to fill several different online newspapers. Rather than liberals being upset if the local paper is too conservative for their taste, or, as we have in Tulsa with the Tulsa World Whirled, if conservatives are upset about the local paper being too liberal, we can have an Online Conservative Paper, an Online Liberal Paper, and an Online Centrist Paper.

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