The American Press Institute’s released their $ 2 million dollar study –called Newspaper Next–of what newspapers should do to save themselves in a digital world and the two big insights look like they are Think local and Cooperate amongst yerselves. In a USA Today story, the API folks say familiar things like
“Newspaper websites (collectively) have a substantial user base that can be competitive with Internet giants, including Google and Yahoo.”
and offer think like a marketer advice that is death to newsrooms but good for business, like the statement “What are people trying to get done in their lives? Where do they look for solutions?” as a filter for making newspaper product development decisions.
For someone like me, who spent years in online news, and then went off to more web-based companies, this report has the familiar ring of–well, the (heart-felt)tried and true.
I do want online editions of newspapers to succeed, for many reasons, but it’s been more than ten years since Jeff Jarvis, Peter Levitan and I started New Jersey Online, and alot of the newspaper industry messages–the shoulds–of what these companies can do to improve–haven’t changed much since then.
Having said that, I love local, I love community, I think that digital media, tools and services are here to stay and evolve and that new markets are (perpetually) to be made. I just question whether reports like this offer fresh thinking or–more importantly–products and tools to move the needle.
So, here’s another thought:
What if the API had spent that 2 million to develop an open source product–like a self-serve advertising platform–or a local listings product–that all their members could use?
Would that have affected more change than another report?
And actually solved some problems?
Isn’t this report the embodiment of the problem online newspaper businesses face–that there’s way more talk than there is action?
Look at the open source software movement, people–and get a clue.

The American Press Institute’s released their $ 2 million dollar study –called Newspaper Next–of what newspapers should do to save themselves in a digital world and the two big insights look like they are Think local and Cooperate amongst yerselves. In a USA Today story, the API folks say familiar things like
“Newspaper websites (collectively) have a substantial user base that can be competitive with Internet giants, including Google and Yahoo.”
and offer think like a marketer advice that is death to newsrooms but good for business, like the statement “What are people trying to get done in their lives? Where do they look for solutions?” as a filter for making newspaper product development decisions.
For someone like me, who spent years in online news, and then went off to more web-based companies, this report has the familiar ring of–well, the (heart-felt)tried and true.
I do want online editions of newspapers to succeed, for many reasons, but it’s been more than ten years since Jeff Jarvis, Peter Levitan and I started New Jersey Online, and alot of the newspaper industry messages–the shoulds–of what these companies can do to improve–haven’t changed much since then.
Having said that, I love local, I love community, I think that digital media, tools and services are here to stay and evolve and that new markets are (perpetually) to be made. I just question whether reports like this offer fresh thinking or–more importantly–products and tools to move the needle.
So, here’s another thought:
What if the API had spent that 2 million to develop an open source product–like a self-serve advertising platform–or a local listings product–that all their members could use?
Would that have affected more change than another report?
And actually solved some problems?
Isn’t this report the embodiment of the problem online newspaper businesses face–that there’s way more talk than there is action?
Look at the open source software movement, people–and get a clue.