by Josh Nason
A newspaper must have an online presence to even be considered relevant. There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with media than now. There are so many opportunities to do something with all of the various methods of passing along information to the masses. Considering our society is so content-driven, newspapers have a distinct advantage over some of its competitors in that they’re always producing something new on a daily basis.
So why aren’t they using that advantage?
Money is a huge reason as newspaper publishers continue to struggle with how to translate the cash earned from someone plunking down two quarters for a physical paper to someone plunking down their butt and logging onto the online version. I’m not sure why this is such a confounding proposition, but very few newspaper outlets see the big picture. TV and radio have set the bar in terms of giving away free information as you can get the latest information from CNN.com or MSNBC.com within seconds of it happening, all for free. Newspapers have the same capability with a website and email list, yet many do it so poorly. Seemingly, there’s no effective online strategy and it doesn’t make any sense.
Advertising buttons are one way that Big Ink is trying to make some of this cash back they feel they’re losing by “giving away” news. In return, they get a cluttered site that somewhat resembles the outfield walls of a minor-league baseball park. While there is a price to be paid for getting information from trusted sources like your local paper, is it worth being bombarded to that extent? It’s symbolic of an industry struggling to grasp with itself.