A what, you ask? My newspaper needs a Facebook strategy? Yes, you do. And the fact that you do is symptomatic of the changes that are engulfing today’s community journalism. This article will take only a few minutes to read, but it overviews the issue, including some ideas on monetizing your Facebook presence.
In this time of radical change for newspapers, you’ll find lots of folk trying to make sense of it all – especially in the blogosphere. These writers are trying to interpret the signs of the media times and to recommend what we should do next. You can’t read them all, but when I see Steve Buttry’s byline attached to something, I always take time to check it out. I hope you will read the entire blog post at the URL above. Talking about the free vs. paid content issue, Steve notes that many people see the Original Sin of newspapers as not beginning to charge for online content from the get-go. But in a typical (for Steve) flash of insight, he notes that the Original Sin was on the ad side. Here’s a brief sample: “The disastrous error that newspapers made early in our digital lives was treating online advertising as a throw-in or upsell for their print advertisers. Helping businesses connect with customers was always our business. We were facing new technology and new opportunities and we did next to nothing to explore how we might use this new technology to help businesses connect with customers. We just offered businesses the same old solutions that we offered in print, but pop-up ads and web banners somehow didn’t work as well as display ads. Which was just as well, because we told our business customers the ads weren’t worth much by the way we treated them.” If you agree with what Buttry is saying, you will definitely want to make plans to attend our Internet ad sales workshop on Oct. 29 with Chuck Nau. Mark your calendars now and watch for more details on the website and in your inbox soon.
If you’ve been to one of our Web workshops you’ve probably heard us talk about the Flip camera. It’s an easy-to-use, point-and-shoot video camera that we’ve recommended for those who want to get started with digital video.
Now we have one (a Flip Ultra, worth $149), and we want to give it to you, the community journalists who take advantage of our online services.
To be eligible to win this all you have to do is be a registered user of this site, and a subscriber to our e-mail newsletter.
If you’re not registered yet, just point your browser to /user/register and sign up. Make sure you leave the box checked for “Subscribe to Weekly update from the Digital Initiative” so you’re eligible for the Flip camera giveaway.
You’ll be entered into the contest additional times if you’re also our follower on Twitter (our username is @tccj) or a fan of our page on Facebook (just search for Texas Center for Community Journalism) so if you aren’t registered on either of those sites, this could be a great time to do so.
We’ll select the winner on September 21st, so sign up by then to be eligible.
This is only open to individual journalists (so you can’t register under your newspaper’s name), and you have to live in the U.S.
Here’s a statistic to share with your advertisers: Newspapers are still the main medium that influences the buying decisions of 59% of adults. That’s according to data released by NAA, which contain a wealth of interesting stats about how newspapers readers are affected by advertising. The first link, to MediaPost, has some analysis with the highlights of the data. The second link is to a news release on NAA’s site with the numbers.
A story in the NYT looks at how many are starting their day online, which could mean an even further decrease in the amount of time people have to read the paper in the morning. “It used to be you woke up, went to the bathroom, maybe brushed your teeth and picked up the newspaper,” Naomi S. Baron, a professor at American University told the NYT. “But what we do first now has changed dramatically.” The story uses Web traffic patterns and anecdotal accounts to discuss the phenomenon, which is likely already affecting how many consume their news.
During the last few months, we’ve seen more and more newspapers make plans to begin charging for online content — despite the lack of success most have had with paywalls. You may be considering the same thing. But before you do, take five minutes to read Michelle McLellan’s blog. She asks five questions that any newspaper should ask before it erects a paywall. This one’s worth your time.
Community newspapers, while hurting from the economic downturn, have been largely immune to other changes in media that have hurt large, metro newspapers, according to an AP story. Also, metros might look to hyperlocal, the bread and butter of community newspapers, to shape the model of the large dailies of the future. Much of this story will be old news to community journalists, but there are some interesting statistics in this story about the performance of community newspapers as a part of the industry.
Fitz & Jen point to a Borrell Associates report that indicates advertising revenue might finally be on the rise. The best part for community newspapers is that the report expects “much of the upcoming growth to come from community and suburban papers.”
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has been looking at new models for online news lately, and speaking with online news operations all over the country. In doing so, they’ve provided a great list of ways people are monetizing online content. There is a great deal of information in here, and anyone with a website should check it out.