I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Many people don’t like even the new and redesigned http://www.jsonline.com/ and the old one was terrible. My dad thinks the webpage is confusing and it should be setup exactly like the paper is not just close like the site has! An electronic version with the tabs as the same as the sub sections inside.
Let us look at some recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headlines.
Newsroom union approves 6.6% pay cut at Journal Sentinel
Journal Sentinel announces job cuts
Journal Communications workers face pay cuts
Journal Sentinel weekday circulation drops 6.7%
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) circulation keeps dropping. In fact, newspapers across the nation have had declining circulation except The Wall Street Journal, which had a small increase.
So why are the newspapers circulations down?
That is easy, the Internet is the biggest reason, but there are a few other issues. So here are the reasons in order and why.
- The Internet – It is free. Easy to use. Constantly up to date, so no old news (News is supposed to be
NEW) Real-time data!
- Media competition from TV, mainly cable news
- At MJS, advertisement in the classifieds is way down since Craigslist http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites does the listing for free or near free based on fees in the larger cities. EBay has played a role as well.
- MJS and many other newspapers no longer just report the news, they make even a fire at a house an op ed (opinion-editorial) piece instead of just reporting the facts. Most of the papers have added the liberal spin and I do think that has hurt them.
- For the MJS in particular, they have cut out too much local news and concentrate too much on national pieces that they purchase.
- At MJS, they are not doing enough digging and checking into government at the local, county and state levels. Reporters have become lazy and don’t spend enough time following leads and doing open requests.
- Advertisement in the retail sector is way down as margins have shrunk spending on circular ads are down. Shopping online has a great appeal.
- Newspapers don’t seem to want to embrace technology fast and too often are slow to change.
- The care of home delivery is way down. The care was much better when kids had paper routes and you knew who the paperboy or girl was. In many communities, customer service has gone out the window. They will not do side door delivery or in the door, they just want to have a green box in front.
- The standard price structure is high, unless you dicker with them and threaten to quit. Then they come out will a great price structure to keep you.
- Have you looked at how thin the paper has become? You have to fight the perception of what am I paying for?
A friend of mine looked at my post as a preview and this is what he had to say.
“I also hate the set up of the j/s website. I can't figure out why these companies feel they need to 'update' the look of their site every few months.
Many of the reasons you give for newspapers dying are very good. For me, its both #11, the whispy thin size of the paper...and the fact that even the stories they do decide to report on…they half heartily and short hand. No matter how important or big the news might be…the j/s story is a couple of vague paragraphs and that's about it.”
I can sit and list the reasons, but will the MJS believe them and do something about? Can they execute the necessary changes quick enough or has the bell already rung? Can MJS reinvent itself for you and future customers?
As far as the Internet, can you put the Genie back in the bottle.
So how can the genie be put back in the bottle? Well, the online website needs to only offer recaps and NO new news.
The paper, per se, is dead, but the Journal can offer to give all those that want to signup for a year subscription a free Kindle like device that has the ability to have the most up to date newspaper info directly downloaded into it, plus a key to unlock the website.
This appears to be what
Kindle like you say?
What is a Kindle?
Kindle allows you to read E-books and has a free wireless Internet connection. Top
The Kindle 2 sells for $359 and costs $185 to build and it will take the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to offer free the device with a year subscription to keep the MJS alive. What the Journal has to remember is all of the money saved not printing the paper, the paper costs in materials, the cost of delivery and such.
What about coupons? Have the Journal scan them in and let people print it at home with a serial code so people cannot just print more than one. The coupon for Tide as an example could automatically link you to their website for additional information.
Is Grandma H. or Grandpa K. going to use this device?
How many of those Grandparents have made the transition to email and surfing already. You could still sell the Sunday paper at the store in actual paper for a few years, but we will be an electronic newspaper shortly. People made that transition to the Telephone, cable TV,
How to combat Craigslist?
Start by offering a free listing on the MJS website and offer to add it to the paper or E-Paper for a small charge. Get people interested and looking at MJS for classifieds again.
...Plastic Logic e-Reader.
I admit, I thought about a Kindle, but it's a little small by comparison to the Plastic Logic e-Reader and the video of the product looks more promising than any similar device I've seen.
This COULD be the death of paper if it's as durable as it appears, but it's clearly still in beta as you can see it's tethered throughout the video. The footage is from last year, when they wanted to target the business market, but I think they'll have better luck with it as a consumer device. Won't be released until 2010, but there are some out here, something like this could actually help newspapers survive, as there would be no physical paper but the morning edition uploaded to you daily.
Price point has to get lower than Kindle for mass consumer purchase, I'd say a price of $99 and a business model to make it back on subscription content (require a 2 year commitment to at least one newspaper or magazine, similar to a cell phone contract.
More local news is a big part of the answer. BTB – Back To Basics is a good start.
Future of online news may be 'hyperlocal'