Thursday, September 29, 2005


FUTURE: Newspapers are on the precipe and need to revise their product, not brand, Cauthorn writes

Former San Francisco Chronicle and Arizona Republic web editor Bob Cauthorn, now a news industry consultant and pundit, has developed an inciteful blog post about why, in his view, newspapers are at the precipice of failure unless they start asking the right questions about changing their product.

"What are the right questions?," asks Cauthorn rhetorically. "Just a few starters: what form should storytelling take online, what is the natural and robust role the community plays, what does geo-focused and just-in-time news delivery look like, does data presentaion itself become a story, what does true interactivity looks like, how can the social conversation be distributed now, what level of personalization is valuable and what level is numbing to the intellect, how can digital media provide real value to local advertisers?

"A product-driven newpspaper would look at digital media and say, what can we do differently here and how does the digital product differentiate itself from a print product?

"A product-driven newspaper would look hard at its print results and come to the only sane conclusion possible: readers leave print because the print product is broken. It's not a product people want, so they walk away from it. They happen to walk to the web because, well, to date the industry has offered nothing more than a straight-up replacement."
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