Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Saving newspapers...or the news?

You've heard it before…continuing declines in newspaper readership and big drops in advertising revenues are prompting questions about the future of journalism and mass media.

Former Knight Ridder news executive Jerry Ceppos opened a series of discussion forums with JMC students this week by reciting some of those sorry stats. Then he asked students for their ideas on how best to save the nation's newspapers.

Halfway through the session, one JMC student got to the crux of the problem:
Is our goal here to save the newspaper, or news in general?
"Let's…say we want to save the news, and make good journalism available to people," said Ceppos, who is on campus this week as JMC's editor in residence, speaking in classes and holding discussion sessions on the future of newspapers and the mass media.

A worthy goal. Here are some ideas from the Tuesday morning session:
  • Move 50 percent of news staff to the web, and reorient the newsroom culture to the web
  • Make it more convenient to get the news
  • Ask subscribers about their interests, and give them ways to tailor news content to their interests
  • Add "cheese" to the spinach, to make "good for you" news more palatable to readers

No comments: