Future of news Online advertising

Ads on the Net: We didn’t explore how to use the new medium to connect advertisers with customers

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.

By Kathryn Jones Malone

Kathryn Jones Malone is co-director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism. She began her career as a staff writer at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, then worked as a staff writer for the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News; as a contract writer for The New York Times; as a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly magazine; as editor of the Glen Rose Reporter; and as a freelance writer for numerous state, regional and national magazines. She teaches journalism at Tarleton State University.