Newspapers compared to other media

cycloneworld

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We hear over and over and over "subscribe to your local newspaper", "support local journalism", "content isn't free!" from many media folks. I get it, they want people to pay for their content. Serious question - why are they different from other forms of media that make the free model work?

Radio content - free
Podcast content - free
TV Channels (OTA) content - free
Youtube content - free
News websites content - free
CF-type websites content - free

I subscribe to The Athletic and the NY Times so I'm clearly not against paying for content but legit curious why newspapers and news media think they are different and special than other forms. Why haven't they figured this out like other forms? Please educate me.
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

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We hear over and over and over "subscribe to your local newspaper", "support local journalism", "content isn't free!" from many media folks. I get it, they want people to pay for their content. Serious question - why are they different from other forms of media that make the free model work?

Radio content - free
Podcast content - free
TV Channels (OTA) content - free
Youtube content - free
News websites content - free
CF-type websites content - free

I subscribe to The Athletic and the NY Times so I'm clearly not against paying for content but legit curious why newspapers and news media think they are different and special than other forms. Why haven't they figured this out like other forms? Please educate me.
Most of those are all paid for by advertisers and due to the scope of coverage they don't have to charge you a subscription. The Rag has a potential of 3.1 million subscribers. Youtube can reach billions.
 

cycloneworld

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Most of those are all paid for by advertisers and due to the scope of coverage they don't have to charge you a subscription. The Rag has a potential of 3.1 million subscribers. Youtube can reach billions.

Local radio makes it work with a smaller audience. A podcast with a MUCH smaller reach can make it work.
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

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Local radio makes it work with a smaller audience. A podcast with a MUCH smaller reach can make it work.
I would think the costs in running a local radio would be much less than running a newspaper. No printer, ink, typesetting, just a transmitter.
But I know nothing about running a local radio station. I'm sure @ChrisMWilliams would have much more insight into that.
 

Gunnerclone

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Local radio makes it work with a smaller audience. A podcast with a MUCH smaller reach can make it work.

Radio seems easier to advertise in and is probably cheaper. It would be a lot easier to subscribe to something like the Register if they hadn’t of gutted all of the things I used to like about it and gutted the personnel that I like.
 

BryceC

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We hear over and over and over "subscribe to your local newspaper", "support local journalism", "content isn't free!" from many media folks. I get it, they want people to pay for their content. Serious question - why are they different from other forms of media that make the free model work?

Radio content - free
Podcast content - free
TV Channels (OTA) content - free
Youtube content - free
News websites content - free
CF-type websites content - free

I subscribe to The Athletic and the NY Times so I'm clearly not against paying for content but legit curious why newspapers and news media think they are different and special than other forms. Why haven't they figured this out like other forms? Please educate me.

A big part of it is that I think Newspaper reporting just takes a LOT more time and effort to do what we expect them to do.

For example, let's think about something like All The President's Men. Those guys spent months and years working on one story. That's two salaries for maybe 15 or 20 stories considering all the follow ups.

I'm sure Chris and Ross do a lot of prep for the radio show. But that's 3 guys cranking out 3 hours of content every day with maybe an hour or two of prep. The time spent vs. the amount of content produced is a LOT higher in newspapers vs. other forms of media is my opinion.
 

Urbandale2013

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A big part of it is that I think Newspaper reporting just takes a LOT more time and effort to do what we expect them to do.

For example, let's think about something like All The President's Men. Those guys spent months and years working on one story. That's two salaries for maybe 15 or 20 stories considering all the follow ups.

I'm sure Chris and Ross do a lot of prep for the radio show. But that's 3 guys cranking out 3 hours of content every day with maybe an hour or two of prep. The time spent vs. the amount of content produced is a LOT higher in newspapers vs. other forms of media is my opinion.
I think the biggest problem is local reporters like to think they do those big stories but they don’t. There just isn’t anything that they do that you can’t get elsewhere likely for free.
 

ChrisMWilliams

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I could write a book about this, but will give you something quick to chew on.

It's about journalism, and I'm not even talking about sports here.

It's important to our democracy that our local and state governments be held in check. Nobody reads the city council report or whatever but it's important that a watchdog is there. Otherwise, our entire democracy could get lost.

The big pubs do this with the federal stuff, but if we lose all local journalism (again I'm talking news, not sports), there won't be anybody to keep our government and community leaders in check.

That's why it's important, IMO. And that stuff takes time and resources.

I'll try to come back to this to give you more later.
 

cycloneworld

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I could write a book about this, but will give you something quick to chew on.

It's about journalism, and I'm not even talking about sports here.

It's important to our democracy that our local and state governments be held in check. Nobody reads the city council report or whatever but it's important that a watchdog is there. Otherwise, our entire democracy could get lost.

The big pubs do this with the federal stuff, but if we lose all local journalism (again I'm talking news, not sports), there won't be anybody to keep our government and community leaders in check.

That's why it's important, IMO. And that stuff takes time and resources.

I'll try to come back to this to give you more later.

I was hoping you would jump in. This isn't a "gotcha" type question either, I'm genuinely curious.

What triggered me was a national sportswriter I follow basically talking down to his followers because someone said they wouldn't pay for his work. And it got me thinking that we don't pay for a lot of media's work.
 

3GenClone

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We hear over and over and over "subscribe to your local newspaper", "support local journalism", "content isn't free!" from many media folks. I get it, they want people to pay for their content. Serious question - why are they different from other forms of media that make the free model work?

Radio content - free
Podcast content - free
TV Channels (OTA) content - free
Youtube content - free
News websites content - free
CF-type websites content - free

I subscribe to The Athletic and the NY Times so I'm clearly not against paying for content but legit curious why newspapers and news media think they are different and special than other forms. Why haven't they figured this out like other forms? Please educate me.

Everything you listed may appear to be free to you as a consumer, but all of those cost money to produce. Income is generated from advertisements, sponsors/contributors, or data procurement (collecting cookie data, completing online surveys, etc).

The issue with print journalism is they cannot match the speed at which news is reported on. The business model for supporting physical paper needs to be eliminated OR some kind of digital-based newspaper needs to emerge. Imagine owning some kind of e-reader where the headlines could change in real-time as journalists upload their articles to the cloud.
 

cycloneworld

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A big part of it is that I think Newspaper reporting just takes a LOT more time and effort to do what we expect them to do.

I was watching a Dateline on NBC (OTA) and they said they spent a year researching, studying, and reporting on this case. All for a 1-hour show they distribute for free.

I'm thinking newspapers have been the slowest to evolve into this new social media era and really haven't figured out how to monetize and sustain themselves. Or maybe there isn't enough demand for their product?
 

3GenClone

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I was watching a Dateline on NBC (OTA) and they said they spent a year researching, studying, and reporting on this case. All for a 1-hour show they distribute for free.

I'm thinking newspapers have been the slowest to evolve into this new social media era and really haven't figured out how to monetize and sustain themselves. Or maybe there isn't enough demand for their product?

And you sat through 3-4 commercial breaks to watch that episode of Dateline. Those advertising dollars went back to NBC and some of that will be used to fund the reporters at Dateline.
 

Gunnerclone

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I was watching a Dateline on NBC (OTA) and they said they spent a year researching, studying, and reporting on this case. All for a 1-hour show they distribute for free.

I'm thinking newspapers have been the slowest to evolve into this new social media era and really haven't figured out how to monetize and sustain themselves. Or maybe there isn't enough demand for their product?

Im also amazed at how consistently crappy newspaper websites are and how crappy their subscription offerings are.
 

Urbandale2013

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Jan 28, 2018
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I could write a book about this, but will give you something quick to chew on.

It's about journalism, and I'm not even talking about sports here.

It's important to our democracy that our local and state governments be held in check. Nobody reads the city council report or whatever but it's important that a watchdog is there. Otherwise, our entire democracy could get lost.

The big pubs do this with the federal stuff, but if we lose all local journalism (again I'm talking news, not sports), there won't be anybody to keep our government and community leaders in check.

That's why it's important, IMO. And that stuff takes time and resources.

I'll try to come back to this to give you more later.
I think the biggest issue is that companies (*cough cough* Gannett or whoever owns the Register now) have seemed to mandate their local reporters to beg for money while simultaneously cutting the quality of their product.

I know I personally won’t buy the Register or any of the associated paper because they just don’t have the quality that’s worth it. At the same time i want a paper that is worth paying for. The problem there is that it isn’t really worth the investment to start one.

You really need some rich person to essentially donate the money to start one.
 

CycloneDaddy

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And you sat through 3-4 commercial breaks to watch that episode of Dateline. Those advertising dollars went back to NBC and some of that will be used to fund the reporters at Dateline.
The companies that advertised then build that cost into their product price. So even though Dateline was “free” to watch whoever bought those products actually paid for Dateline.
 

iowa_wildcat

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Theoretically, Chris Williams is correct about media being an essential watchdog. Unfortunately, on the local level, when the media and government bodies agree on the issues, the watchdog aspect is invalid. Tax payers can unknowingly be fleeced or miss opportunities because they are not fully aware of the alternatives. They simply vote yes or no to whatever issue is presented for a vote.
 

ChrisMWilliams

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Specifically with newspapers, the biggest reason they have such a problem these days is the lack of a relevant classifies ads section. That used to be a HUGE form of revenue from them and now it's just gone. For a company like ours, sure we've had to evolve over the years, but we've never drastically just had a revenue form disappear.

AND, it doesn't help the most newspapers are owned by giant conglomerates these days. Publication A could be profitable, while Publications B, C, D and E are not .. but Publication A will still get gutted for it.

And media companies, in my opinion, need to be media companies. We've got a lot of hedge fund people and crap in this industry now. It used to be about journalism while still making money. Now, for many, it's about trying to make money and doing a little journalism on the side.
 

Trice

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We hear over and over and over "subscribe to your local newspaper", "support local journalism", "content isn't free!" from many media folks. I get it, they want people to pay for their content. Serious question - why are they different from other forms of media that make the free model work?

Radio content - free
Podcast content - free
TV Channels (OTA) content - free
Youtube content - free
News websites content - free
CF-type websites content - free

I subscribe to The Athletic and the NY Times so I'm clearly not against paying for content but legit curious why newspapers and news media think they are different and special than other forms. Why haven't they figured this out like other forms? Please educate me.

First of all, none of that is "free." They all have business models and they're all at the mercy of some outside force. Usually they bring eyeballs (or ears) to advertisers.

You have to remember what the newspaper industry has been through in the last thirty years or so. There was already consolidation (think Gannett) happening, then the internet comes along and decimates its subscriber base, which eventually hurts traditional advertising rates because there are fewer eyeballs to see the ads. Then craigslist comes along and completely wipes out classified advertising, a huge source of revenue. The rise of direct, data-driven marketing further erodes traditional advertising. Then as Facebook grew and began to exert its power it was devastating as well (remember "pivoting to video"?).

Real journalism is time-consuming work. You can say it doesn't sell and maybe you're right. Maybe it isn't profitable enough for Wall Street, but it can be profitable enough to survive in the right hands. But it's far, far too important to let die.
 
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cycloneworld

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And you sat through 3-4 commercial breaks to watch that episode of Dateline. Those advertising dollars went back to NBC and some of that will be used to fund the reporters at Dateline.

I fully understand that ad revenue pays for it. As I mentioned in my last post, why haven't newspapers figured out how to adapt in this new era like others have?
 

NodawayRiverClone

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I was watching a Dateline on NBC (OTA) and they said they spent a year researching, studying, and reporting on this case. All for a 1-hour show they distribute for free.

I'm thinking newspapers have been the slowest to evolve into this new social media era and really haven't figured out how to monetize and sustain themselves. Or maybe there isn't enough demand for their product?

I agree that print journalism seemed slow to go digital. A lot of people get the local news they want from the short blurbs on TV or on TV websites. For non-local stuff, people go on the internet to places that give it the way they want to hear/see it. These places do not have journalists that just have residual bias, their thing is to use purposeful bias and put out a form of spin or propaganda. Otherwise, it is easy for news sources to buy AP and Reuters feeds, they have no journalists.
 

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