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    © 2013, Joseph B. Wikert
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« Clayton Christensen on the Future of Newspapers | Main | Streaming Video vs. TV Broadcasts »

October 15, 2006

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Tom Britt

The Star (or any newspaper) will have problems getting readers to interact with them online because they are newspapers. People read newspapers. They have been reading newspapers for centuries. It will take years for people to start interacting with their newspapers. Of course, there will always be the 5% that take to things quickly and just because it is new. But getting the other 95% to get past their centuries-old paradigms will take a lot longer and a lot of effort.

Joe Wikert

Hi Tom. You're certainly right about trying to get people to change their behavior. But, I read a report over the weekend (sorry, can't recall the specifics) that said some decent double-digit percentage of Internet surfers do so while watching the TV or reading the paper. Again, sorry that I don't recall the specifics, but it was a surprisingly high number. If that's true, one would think people are doing both simultaneously more than I would have thought. Additionally, I still thought there were things the Star could have done to (a) nudge paper readers online and (b) provide a richer online experience (with those videos, for example).

Tom Britt

I'm not arguing the fact that newspapers need to encourage their readers to go online, nor am I arguing that people don't watch TV, read the newspaper, and surf the web. I've just noticed from first-hand experience that you can have 100,000 visitors to your website with the most compelling, two-sided story, and nobody will post a comment or message. Even if you get one comment from a far left- or right-positioned person, no one else will even speak up. I think the demographics of newspaper readers is working against them: boomers and older are not chatting, posting myspace pages, blogging, or posting messages on newspaper sites. And young people do not read newspapers, they have been trained over the last 10+ years to get news via the web. This is where I see newspapers hitting a wall.

Joe Wikert

Good points, Tom. I don't see the older crowd changing their ways, but I do think it's not too late to get the younger crowd to consider a print paper. As I've mentioned before, one approach is to give the darned thing away and just live off the advertising income. That may be the only way to get non-readers to even consider it as a resource.

shel israel

Hmmm. Maybe they should just move the whole thing to a blog. I could recommend a good book to get them started.

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