I read another doom and gloom story for newspapers at the beginning of the day. Later, I read a second story that implies a path to redemption for newspapers. I love when two stories come together to provide inspiration.
Sadly, the blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur, shows that print ad revenues have not re-bounded from the recession as has the ad revenues for Television, radio, and the Internet. This is troubling new for newspapers and magazines. For an industry besieged on many fronts, this just another day and another bad news story. Read the story here:
Reflections of a Newsosaur: Make no mistake: Newspapers are still in trouble — http://mtn.bz/dgbcyH
On the other hand, the second story today talks about leadership and learning. While not specifically related to the newspaper industry, it is very applicable. Mike Myatt, of n2growth.com states that good CEOs (or publishers) must commit themselves to continuous learning. He goes on to criticize leaders who are too busy, too important or already too knowledgeable to commit themselves to a pattern of continuous learning.
“Put simply, if you’re not learning you have no business leading.” — The Learning CEO http://bit.ly/d965h4
The business world is becoming very complex and that is particularly true for the newspaper industry. The newspaper industry is emerging from a 15 years of denial: Classified revenues will bounce back… Subscribers are down, but readership is up… that Internet will never last… we are journalists – not like those bloggers. The first article speaks to the current reality. The second article suggest a way forward. The newspaper will never return to the way things once were. The time for denials is over, but, for the publishers and employees who to learn the rules of the new information reality and adapt to them, the glory days for newspapers can return.
Newspapers can be the voices for their communities and they can remain profitable. But, newspaper leaders must learn how to run their businesses in a world of bloggers, citizen journalists, connected (elsewhere) communities, and the perception of a lot of people that newspapers are dying dinosaurs. Journalists will still create content. But, a modern journalist is going to need to reach out to vast new sources of community content, embrace them, and be the filters of that enormous volume of content for their audience(s). Know your audience and be part of their conversations. Deliver the news, information, and commentary that they want as they are talking about it. Satisfy your audience and advertisers will want to pay to be along side your content. It’s a big commitment, but that is only part of the equation.
Newspaper audiences are becoming more tech savvy, more connected, and more interconnected. The notion of a printed newspaper is becoming nostalgic to many. It is now up to publishers and their staff to learn how to give modern audiences what they need and want. Audiences want content whenever and wherever they are. They are looking for content in many places and on many devices. They are building networks amongst friends, friends of friends, families, co-workers, associates, and even strangers. The newspapers audiences are now content creators and content distributors. They are no longer passive content consumers. Newspapers need to learn how to become trusted members of the communities of their tech savvy audiences.
First thing for publishers to learn is… there is much to learn.