The Toronto Star Gets It!
The Change Function, by Pip Coburn

The Bivings Report on Ways to Improve Newspaper Websites

Anyone involved with the newspaper industry needs to read this great summary of suggested website improvements from Todd Zeigler. Some of these are no-brainers (e.g., using tags, providing full RSS feeds, etc.) while others are going to require editors and other executives to abandon their not-invented-here mentality (e.g., work with external social websites, partner with local bloggers, etc.).


Jeff Burkett


I just found your blog and love it. Excellent insight across all media. You obviously put in a lot of time here.

I'm sure I'll be linking here soon!!


Joe Wikert

Hi Jeff. Thanks for the kind words.

Tom Britt

Bivings has some great ideas, problem is the newspapers have a tough time getting away from subscription models and giving things away. For centuries, newspapers' revenue models have been 1. charge for ads and 2. charge for copies and distribution. Online, this dynamic is more like 1. charge a little for banner ads and 2. give away your content. Bivings has some good ideas, but the editors at newspapers will trump the webmaster on most of these suggestions. It is hard to justify paying full-time writers to report on the world when you are giving away their stories. An image of an old lady in the 1980's standing at a hamburger counter saying "where's the beef" comes to mind.

Joe Wikert

Hi Tom. You're probably right. But, I also think the newspaper executives better realize that they're going to see continued deterioration of their core business, so they better explore alternatives, regardless of whether they cannibalize existing revenue streams. It seems to me that if the old newspaper business used to represent $X of annual revenue, the sum of the "new" businesses, which would include the old ones plus all the upstarts, is going to be something less than $X. Most papers enjoyed a monopoly situation and could charge advertisers a higher rate than what they'll be able to get in the future. The newspaper execs who cling to the old ways are going to get beaten up by the more flexible and nimble competitors.

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