Friday 12 December 2008

Online only newspapers just 'weeks away'

Gary Andrew's posting about the death of local newspapers, which poses the question - "will any newspaper publisher be brave enough to go on-line only?" - has been picked up by media commentators around the blogosphere and prompted a really good debate.
One of the best contributions was this on Roy Greenslade's blog on MediaGuardian from "Eric Morecambe" who suggested: "The first breed of 'online only' regional or national 'newspapers' are surely just a matter of weeks or months away.
The Daily Post in Liverpool is axing its Saturday edition, but surely Trinity Mirror must have come within a whisker of scrapping it all together as a daily print title and going exclusively online? Strong brand, loyal readership, targeted perhaps not such a bad idea? Or will they leave it until next autumn to free up the morning market and slap its sister paper the Echo on an overnight print run when it goes to Oldham?
Community websites are low cost but the estimated profit margins may not interest the big media companies. The industry could go full circle and return to small businesses providing our local news, features, sport, etc, for a modest but satisfying profit through community websites plus one-off print publications and other products or services such as staging community events, media training, web or graphic design, sponsored exhibitions, merchandise, etc.
Just imagine a world where shareholders don't influence decisions?
It is ironic that many of today's media strategy makers are the most fervent defenders of print journalism because of 30+ years of newsprint under their fingernails.
The audience has arguably skipped a generation. Perhaps there's a message for senior management? People say there will always be a market for newspapers. Where's that then? Woolworths?"
Roy replied: "@EricMorecambe, spot on. I think groups of journalists made redundant by big chains should think about becoming online pioneers. Didn't Rick Waghorn do that in Norwich light years ago?"

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