xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Newsflash: Newspapers Need to Reinvent Themselves for the Web

Today the

, a Washington-based internet communications firm, released the findings of its

Advertisement

of how traditional print newspapers are coping with the steady evolution of online content in the media. The organization studied 100 "major" newspapers selected based on circulation (the sampling included USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the like) and determined that since 2006, newspapers have beefed up their web sites, begun to embrace user-generated content, and have made their sites more accessible to users. However--surprise--print media is still behind the curve when it comes to web innovation and more importantly, learning to actually make money from web sites. "It is very important to note that boosting a newspaper's web presence is not enough," the report concludes. "Even if growth in traffic to newspaper website increase dramatically, it is not yet, and may never be, enough to make up for the hit the industry is taking from declining print advertising revenue."

What to do about that? Bivings seems to think that simply making sites mechanisms for delivering the news is not enough--it thinks newspapers need to focus on creating online communities to remain relevant: "Newspapers are focused on improving what they already have, when reinvention may be what is necessary in order for the industry to come out of the current crisis on the other side."

Advertisement

It sounds easy enough: Build a better web site, make bigger bucks. But a more complex report conducted by Harvard University's

, which was released in 2007, points out that the equation is just not that simple. Among its findings, the report indicated that newspapers "cannot succeed simply by replacing their hard-copy readers with online readers. On a person-by-person basis, the sale of hard-copy newspapers is vastly more profitable than drawing people to the paper's website. It is estimated that a newspaper needs to attract two or three dozen online readers to make up for--in terms of advertising revenue--the loss of a single hard-copy reader."

Yikes.

Read that full report

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement