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Maybe all that’s needed to turn around the news business is consumer marketing 6/23/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in NewspaperGrowth.
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These days there is the sense in the news industry that since Internet technology has been the cause of recent business problems, technology must also be the solution. This would seem to be the main reason the not-for-profit Tow Foundation is offering generous multi-million dollar grants to the j-schools at Columbia and CUNY.

But that’s not what I’ve been finding in my consulting work with newspapers seeking to survive and thrive in this challenging environment. Yes, technology has caused the disruption, but mostly because it has messed-up the key consumer benefit the papers’ have been offering. Newspapers were once the indispensable, first-read, must-read, exclusive source of the most compelling stories in their metro areas. The Internet has not made it impossible for newspapers to continue delivering this benefit in their online editions — it’s just that this benefit does not come naturally by being the only newspaper in a one-paper town. Restoring this consumer benefit is perhaps 90% about content, and 10% about technology – which is why we are more likely to see news’ business problems solved in newsrooms than at j-schools.

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