Thanks for saving your local newspaper. Now do something hard, before it gets much harder.
Correct argument. Painful but necessary. Of course the intermediate step that nobody seems to be undertaking is to make the digital product usable and readable. The Chicago Tribune's digital appearance in my cell phone is the worst -- so frustrating and visually distracting that I hardly ever go there, and I am a fully paid in subscriber. I don't know why I am paying them a monthly subscription fee for such a shabby reader experience.
Great advice. This absolutely has to be done, but the key is keeping your readers as you go through the transition. Many have done this poorly, though a few quite well. McClatchy did a great job of increasing digital usage while eliminating Saturday print. The Salt Lake Tribune has probably done the best job of this - going down to Sunday only while keeping most of their print subscription revenue. The formula includes everything from good digital marketing, easy-to-use digital products, and even call centers to walk print subscribers through the transition.
Dick, excellent advice. “ If it were done when ‘tis done... “ You know the rest.
Thank you for laying out the economic realities and the opportunity to cut the cat's tail of print once, not inch by inch. The good news is that the business model of digital-only or digital plus weekend in print has a decent chance of being sustainable....and maybe even value-enhancing over time. The other often overlooked dynamic is that newsrooms are fundamentally different for digital-only publishers. The culture that arose out of daily print has proven hard to transform even with all the best intentions, so your solution of forcing the issue is inspired.
Dick, you’re 100% right. In this news/economic crisis, print is a hindrance. But someone is going to have to figure out a way to either improve or replace HTML so a digital news product can have the same visual impact, coherent context, and serendipity of print. I’m sure you’ve noticed, as I have, that often when young, digital-native journalists have big stories that make them especially proud, they take a picture of the print edition version (when one exists) and post it.
And for many publishers it remains the case that print pays the bills. In my experience (and I subscribe to three daily newspapers with digital editions, though am in the process of cancelling one because they cannot manage the associated print delivery), the print edition is much richer (content-wise) and easier to read than the online. If we still had a functioning post office it would often be faster as well, as for some reason many newspapers run the same stories in their digital editions for weeks at a time.