Editor & Publisher columnist Steve Outing believes newspapers can make money online if they make radical changes and embrace the digital age.
But he warns in his latest column: "The local newspaper is no longer a monopoly in town. It's no longer feasible to behave as though that's still the case. By becoming a community-wide information and advertising service, you can get back on the path of increasing revenues."
Among his advice is to "put digital first" and constantly develop new digital content and services that can attract new advertising, as well as creating new digital initiatives that will attract younger readers.
His blueprint for success includes:
Consolidate print and online editing functions.
Don't bother chasing young readers for the print edition and concentrate on the age range of core readership.
Try and guide older readers to "a life online".
Reduce the number of print editions, because putting out the newspaper is "a distraction" from developing digital services.
Broaden the definition of online 'news' to include micro-personal content.
Hire an executive with special responsibility for social media, to reach out to the social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and integrate them with the newspaper's digital initiatives.
He also has this bit of advice for newspaper chief executives : "Consider retirement....Hand the reins over to a true innovator, if that's what it takes to save the organization."
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