Paid content

How to charge for content

Alan Mutter thinks there’s no future in newspapers charging for online content. Still, he offers a summary of the different types of paywalls out there: the Newsday-style wall (which gives readers a few lines of a story and requires a payment for more), the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette model (which requires a subscription to the print product or an online subscription to access some content), New York Times-style metering (a certain number a free views, then a demand to subscribe), iTunes-style micropayments (paying for news stories the way you pay for songs on iTunes, something that has been suggested but not implemented anywhere), and Miami Herald-style tip jars (asking for voluntary online contributions—yeah, like that would work). It’s a nice summary of the various approaches – and be sure to read the comments section of his blog following the piece.

Community Journalism

Get names into the paper

Kennebunkport, Maine, is a long way from Texas. But Bridget Burns in Kennebunkport, who writes for a community newspaper, uses this blog to write about one of the major strengths of community journalism — the fact that we run lots of names and reflect the real lives of real people. You’ll enjoy Bridget’s short blogpost on the value of running names in the paper and why she loves community journalism.

Business of News

A new revenue stream that could be up for grabs

One of newspapers’ main advertising competitors is dead, though they haven’t acknowledged it yet. It’s the various yellow page directories, and the same thing happed to those ubiquitous yellow books that happened to our classified pages: the Internet. But there’s one difference, according to blogger Alan Mutter – newspapers could be in position to benefit from the demise of the yellows. You should read Mutter’s piece and have some serious conversations about it with your ad staff. The bottom line, Mutter says, is that customers won’t trudge through fat books looking up stuff when they can mouseclick their way to better information in seconds. How much is at play here? Mutter says it’s $16.5 billion. And guess who else is looking to cash on the deathwatch of yellow pages? Google, of course. But the blogger reminds us that Google doesn’t have even a fraction of the sales force that we have. And last time I looked, Google didn’t have anybody pounding the pavement in Brady or Dalhart or Corsicana or Mt. Vernon. Advantage, newspapers. Mutter summarizes the opportunity: “If you are a newspaper publisher interested in diversifying away from print while building a valuable, defensible and sustainable digital revenue stream, then it’s time to think about the online directory and web-marketing business.” So be sure to read this blog. And if you’d like to talk with someone about implementing some of these suggestions, call us at the Center.


GameChanger targets local sports events

The new GameChanger iPhone app is designed to help keep score in Little League and high school baseball – without a pencil. You can now record every pitch, hit and run on your phone. It’s free, but the originator, Fungo Media, plans to launch a subscription service to let people get digital simulations of live games. Says a Fungo exec: “This is real-time game content for local sports. This is like ESPN Gamecast for Little League.” Up next: Fungo want to partner with newspaper websites, so that papers can receive get box scores without anyone ever having to call the newspaper.

Cool tool

Once you get past the name, you’ll like this site

The name is ePodunk. And having grown up in a town so small we used to go watch the druggist fill prescriptions on Saturday, I was a little put off by the “podunk” name. But I went, and I checked out a few Texas cities and a few in other states, including the Arkansas “podunk” where I was born. You’ll find lots of interesting information and links here on your town and those around you. Check this one out.


When measuring site traffic, one number isn’t enough

Media managers have long had access to simple statistics about their product’s consumption. Newspaper publishers, for example, have relatively easy access to circulation figures. But more detailed information about consumption habits traditionally has only been available via extensive research, often from outside providers.

That is far from the case online, though. Free blogging platforms track statistics as do most media-sharing sites such as YouTube or Flickr. Rare is the service that even charges to get such information. And free services such as Google Analytics allow anyone with a website insight into how content is being consumed.

But knowing how to interpret those data can be a difficult task. In fact, some argue that all of this data isn’t necessarily a good thing if nobody knows what it means. James Robinson, director of web analytics at The New York Times, is quoted as saying that all of this data is useless if it’s not being used to learn about how people are engaging with content. He said “it’s not about the data, it’s about the insights….it’s not about the page views or click-throughs – it’s about making New York Times customers happy.”

Read the rest at Explorations in New Media


Testimonials from workshop participants

Q & A is by far my favorite, being able to ask specific questions about something going on at my newspaper and how the materials being presented can be used or adapted for use. Also, being able to talk with my peers at other papers, and know we are all indeed ‘in the same boat.’ Perhaps most helpful, though, was being there made me stop thinking about my next paper, and got me to think about my paper’s survival in the future.

My favorite part was doing a features page layout for a graduation. It allowed me to try out some ideas that I have been wanting to use at my paper. With help and ideas from Broc, I am now ready to tackle a features page with a scrapbook theme! And I will always remember all the CRAP I learned here! 🙂 {Editor’s note:  CRAP is an acronym for something the workshop participants learned about design.  Join us for the next design seminar and you’ll never forget the CRAP you learned here, either!}

My favorite part of the workshop was meeting people and listening to their stories about the newspapers they are at. I also enjoyed the workshop; it was very informative and interesting!

My favorite part of the workshop was the crash course for InDesign and playing with the program.

I enjoyed meeting new people and having fun with page design. Also, going out to eat at the Stockyards was AWESOME.

I liked the hands-on InDesign and Photoshop.  I liked the examples of papers and how they could be changed.  That was very helpful to me.

I loved hearing all of the Photoshop tips, and then just being free to create and learn as we go.

Just being able to have fresh eyes on my work and get feedback helps a lot.

I enjoyed seeing what other papers are doing. I also enjoyed learning aspects of Photoshop I was not familiar with. Broc was great working with everyone.

I have to admit I have been greedy taking up space in your classes the last three years and think maybe next year I should let others take a spot instead, but there again if you will let me come back again I sure will!  I did find out quite a few things about myself from this little junket, maybe more than anything else.

I was very inspired by Jim Riddlesperger, and even though I thought I hated politics and I am now motivated to do at least 3 stories from his discussions.

Also found out that my love of writing really is in the column format, which I have done for many years, so I should start back and put pen to paper. Meanwhile I will go back to work tomorrow and make a living, doing everything else!!

Paula LaRocque has been one of my favorite authors on writing for years — her presentation was absolutely solid, convincing, and beneficial beginning to end. The session on Cop Shop was also great. The workshop overall was one of the best I’ve ever been to.

My favorite part was being able to lay out my own page and actually do it, since I have never done it or even used a Mac.

Coming from an English background, I found that the workshop offered a solid baseline for journalism writing, techniques and presentation. I now am far more confident in my skills as a working community journalist and editor. We’ve put out one issue since the workshop, and I paid extra attention to the five pieces that I contributed, making sure that they had “multiple entry points” and were “written for the reader.” No more Jane Austen novels from this writer. I gave the same treatment to other pieces in the paper that I edited.

I want to personally thank you for hosting another fantastic workshop. It caused me to second-guess every word I print in the newspaper (which proved extra stressful on deadline day), but it has also made me a more dedicated journalist, one who takes that title seriously. If they could, I believe our readers would thank you for that.

I immensely appreciated being in the presence of people who are passionate about journalism and who have the expertise to teach writing on specific topics. The editorial lesson was of particular significance to my paper. And, of course, the meals were amazing and both Dr. Thomason and Chavez were more than hospitable.

The entire workshop was excellent! I feel privileged to have been able to attend. I will be able to use pretty much everything I learned. Reporting and writing stories is somewhat new to me and I was amazed by what I learned in a day and a half. I didn’t know it was possible to soak in that much information in such a short time. I enjoyed hearing the guest speakers and have much respect for Tommy and Andrew! I am now even more interested in reporting and newswriting. I didn’t want to come back to work, I wanted to stay there and learn from those two guys! There should be a newswriting workshop part 2!

My favorite part was knowing that I am not alone in this business and meeting people with similar problems, battles and concerns. I liked being able to hear others share their experiences how they resolved them. I enjoyed seeing a few familiar faces and meeting new people in the business. It’s comforting and rejuvenating all at the same time.

I particularly enjoyed Broc’s rebuilds on several of the pages submitted to him, where he shows you what you could do with what you have — rather than what he can do with Pulitzer-prize caliber art!

Paula Laroque’s [workshop] was extremely helpful in fine-tuning my writing skills. It made me realize some of the ruts that I get in when it comes to compiling articles. Andrew and Tommy’s information showed the passion of their views on making stories become the best they can be and how our writing needs to reach the readers. Roy Eaton’s talk on community journalism was extremely helpful due to the fact that a lot of the topics he covered applied to our community. The other presenters were strong and I learned a lot from them as well.


List of participating newspapers

Here's a list of the newspapers that have sent staff members to our workshops over the years:

  1. Advocate magazines
  2. Albany News
  3. Alpine Avalanche
  4. Alpine Daily Planet
  5. Archer County Advocate
  6. Argyle Sun
  7. Athens Daily Review
  8. Austin Community Newspapers
  9. Azle News
  10. Bandera Bulletin
  11. Bastrop Advertiser
  12. Bay City Tribune
  13. Baylor County Banner
  14. Baytown Sun
  15. Beeville Bee-Picayune
  16. Big Lake Wildcat
  17. Big Sandy and Hawkins Journal
  18. Blanco County News
  19. Boerne Star
  20. Bowie News
  21. Brackett News
  22. Brady Standard-Herald
  23. Breckenridge American
  24. Bridgeport Index
  25. Brownfield News
  26. Bryan-College Station Eagle
  27. Buffalo Press
  28. Bullard Banner News
  29. Burleson Star
  30. Burnet Bulletin
  31. Cameron Herald
  32. Canadian Record
  33. Canyon News
  34. Carrizo Springs Javelin
  35. Cass County Sun
  36. Castroville News Bulletin
  37. Cedar Creek Pilot
  38. Cedar Park Citizen
  39. Cherokeean Herald
  40. Clarendon Enterprise
  41. Clarksville Times
  42. Claude News
  43. Clay County Leader
  44. Colorado City Record
  45. Comanche Chief
  46. Commerce Journal
  47. Community News (Aledo)
  48. Cooper Review
  49. Corsicana Daily Sun
  50. Daily Court Review
  51. Daily Sentinel
  52. Daily Sentinel (Nacogdoches)
  53. Daily Tribune
  54. Dalhart Texan
  55. De Leon Monitor
  56. Deer Park Broadcaster/Progress
  57. Del Rio News-Herald
  58. DeLeon Free Press
  59. Denison/Pottsboro Press
  60. Diboll Free Press
  61. Dillard Newspapers
  62. Dripping Springs Century-News
  63. Dublin Citizen
  64. Eagle Press
  65. Eastland County News
  66. El Campo Leader-News
  67. Ellis County Press
  68. Ennis Daily News
  69. Everman Star
  70. Examiner (Navasota)
  71. Farmersville Times
  72. Fayette County Record
  73. Focus Daily News
  74. Fort Worth Business Press
  75. Franklin News Weekly
  76. Frankston Citizen
  77. Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post
  78. Freestone County Times
  79. Gatesville Messenger
  80. Gladewater Mirror
  81. Glen Rose Reporter
  82. Golden Gazette
  83. Goldthwaite Eagle
  84. Gonzales Cannon
  85. Graham Leader
  86. Grand Prairie Reporter
  87. Granite Publications
  88. Grapeland Messenger
  89. Hansford County Reporter-Statesman
  90. Hawley Voice
  91. Hays Free Press
  92. Hereford Brand
  93. Highland Lakes Newspapers
  94. Highlander
  95. Hometown News & Riesel Rustler
  96. Hondo Anvil Herald
  97. Hood County News
  98. Huntsville Item
  99. Idalou Beacon
  100. Irving Rambler
  101. Island Moon
  102. Jacksboro Newspapers
  103. Jackson County Herald-Tribune
  104. Jacksonville Daily Progress
  105. Jefferson Jimplecute
  106. Jewett Messenger
  107. Jewish Herald-Voice
  108. Joshua Star
  109. Junction Eagle
  110. Katy Times
  111. Kaufman County Life
  112. Kaufman Herald
  113. Keene Star
  114. Kerens Tribune
  115. Kerrville Daily Times
  116. Kilgore News Herald
  117. Killeen Daily Herald
  118. Kingsland Current
  119. Kirbyville Banner
  120. Knox County News
  121. Kyle-Buda Eagle
  122. Lake Country Sun
  123. Lake Travis View
  124. Lampasas Dispatch Record
  125. Leonard Graphic
  126. Light and Champion
  127. Lindsay Letter
  128. Little Elm Journal
  129. Lockhart Post-Register
  130. Lufkin Daily News
  131. Madisonville Meteor
  132. Malakoff News
  133. Martin County Messenger
  134. Medina Valley Times
  135. Midland Reporter-News
  136. Motley County Tribune
  137. Mount Vernon Optic-Herald
  138. Mountain Sun
  139. Muenster Enterprise
  140. Munday Courier
  141. Murphy Monitor
  142. Navarro County Times
  143. Newton County News
  144. Nocona News
  145. North Lake Travis Log
  146. Oak Cliff People
  147. Olney Enterprise
  148. Palestine Herald Press
  149. Pampa News
  150. Panhandle Press Association
  151. Paris News
  152. Patriot Talon (UT Tyler)
  153. People Newspapers (Dallas)
  154. Pflugerville Pflag
  155. Picayune and River Cities Daily Tribune
  156. Pilot Point Post-Signal
  157. Plainview Daily Herald
  158. Pleasanton Express
  159. Polk County Enterprise
  160. Port Aransas South Jetty
  161. Port Arthur News
  162. Port Lavaca Wave
  163. Prime Time Newspapers
  164. Princeton Herald
  165. Progress Times
  166. Quad City Messenger
  167. Rains County Leader
  168. Raymond Chronicle and Willacy County News
  169. Red Oak Record
  170. Red River Reporter
  171. Rix Quinn Communications
  172. Rockdale Reporter
  173. Round Rock Leader
  174. Sachse News
  175. San Angelo Standard-Times
  176. Sanger Courier
  177. Sealy News
  178. Seminole Sentinel
  179. Silsbee Bee
  180. Smithville Times
  181. Stamford American
  182. Star Group Newspapers
  183. Stonewall County Courier
  184. Suburbia News
  185. Sulphur Springs News-Telegram
  186. Sun Newspapers
  187. Swisher County News
  188. Tawakoni News
  189. Taylor Daily Press
  190. TCU Daily Skiff
  191. Teague Chronicle
  192. Terrell Tribune
  193. Texas Community Newspaper Association
  194. Texas Jewish Post
  195. Texas Press Association
  196. Texoma Enterprise
  197. The Facts (Clute)
  198. The Grizzly Detail
  199. The Informador
  200. The Island Moon (Corpus Christi)
  201. The Shorthorn
  202. Throckmorton Tribune
  203. Today’s Catholic
  204. Trammel Trace Tribune
  205. Vernon Daily Record
  206. Waco Tribune-Herald
  207. Wallis News-Review
  208. Waxahachie Daily Light
  209. Weatherford Democrat
  210. Weimar Mercury
  211. West Austin News
  212. West Kerr Current
  213. Western Observer
  214. Westlake Picayune
  215. Wharton Journal Spectator
  216. White Oak High School Gauger
  217. White Rock Lake Weekly
  218. Whitesboro News-Record
  219. Whitewright Sun
  220. Wilson County News
  221. Wimberley View
  222. Winnsboro News
  223. Wise County Messenger
  224. Wood County Democrat
  225. Wylie News
  226. Yoakum Herald Times
  227. Zapata County News

Good news: People still trust newspapers

OK, you need some good news amidst all the gloom and doom about newspapers.  We had to go to England to get it, but here it is:  A study in Great Britain said that newspapers have one major advantage – consumers trust us more than any other medium.  And in community journalism, where people actually run into us at the Little League game or singing in the church choir or buying nails at the hardware store, there’s probably more trust than what showed up in the Brits’ study.  The research showed that 66 percent trust newspaper advertising as “informative and confidence inspiring,” vs. just 44 percent who feel that way about TV and only 12 percent who’d agree to that for Internet advertising.

Online news

Readers will love this: topic pages to overview news

What reader wouldn’t love this? Marlene Skowran’s blog at PoynterOnline shares an idea we should all look at. The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., publishes “topic pages” that aggregate years of news stories. Check this out – no matter what your interest, from local history to sports, you can review lots of news stories with one click of the mouse.