Do newspapers have a shot?

Newspapers’ business model is under severe pressure. We all know that, so I wanted to find out how bad it is by going over to Silicon Valley’s hometown newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, and meeting with Mac Tully, the President and Publisher.

It was interesting to hear how the economic downturn is going and how he’s moving more and more of the newsroom over to the San Jose Mercury News’ online efforts. Plus we talk about Twitter and Facebook and a bunch of other stuff in this 16-minute interview including the role of citizen journalists alongside professional journalists.

This is the newspaper I read as a child.

Do newspapers have a shot? Does this interview change your opinions?

66 thoughts on “Do newspapers have a shot?

  1. A friend recently said she rea that the Sunday edition of the New York Times consumes the paper of 165,000 trees. Does anyone have reasonably accurate data?

  2. As long as newspapers rely on paper, the answer is no future. They need to offer both web and paper formats for every subscriber. There should be no extra fee associated with either one. Plus, they need to have all the news if not more online.

    Also, journalists will remain journalists. In house journalists should be allowed to independently publish blogs online through their newspapers.

    It will be go from top down to bottom up.

  3. As long as newspapers rely on paper, the answer is no future. They need to offer both web and paper formats for every subscriber. There should be no extra fee associated with either one. Plus, they need to have all the news if not more online.

    Also, journalists will remain journalists. In house journalists should be allowed to independently publish blogs online through their newspapers.

    It will be go from top down to bottom up.

  4. Idealy, I would love to see the printed word survive in the future, but I think that Newspapers are just too time-sensitive to last anymore. In my opinion, I think newspapers should take more “recap” style articles where it won’t matter if the newspaper sits in a shop or a machine for a week or so, you can still learn something from it.

    And also, I do agree in the desire for a less political news press. Even as someone relatively left wing, I go to read news to learn about what is going on in the world, not some person’s opinion on what is going on in the world.

  5. Idealy, I would love to see the printed word survive in the future, but I think that Newspapers are just too time-sensitive to last anymore. In my opinion, I think newspapers should take more “recap” style articles where it won’t matter if the newspaper sits in a shop or a machine for a week or so, you can still learn something from it.

    And also, I do agree in the desire for a less political news press. Even as someone relatively left wing, I go to read news to learn about what is going on in the world, not some person’s opinion on what is going on in the world.

  6. Good interview…One key point stuck out when he said an online subscriber is worth 10% of what a print subscriber is worth to advertisers. This is partly the nature of the web, where info is valued differently, and possibly because print has been overvalued all along. The market is determining the true value of newspaper “news.” Their problem obviously is not just figuring out how to monetize the same information online, but to reinvent the the way they collect,edit, package and dispense it. It needs to be more personalized for one thing. The Mercury’s entertainment news is still a mess, to me, basically lists of events that you have to search through with crude tools. Why can’t this be packaged in a way so that I, as a middle aged consumer with certain interests, can easily go on and find events, activities, etc that fit my needs- or better yet a bot that does it for me, making suggestions along the way. They do have a resource, as he says, reporters who professionally report real news (vs bloggers who shoot from the hip) but unless they can figure out a way to leverage their information and come up with a new model for today’s audiences, I see a slow, painfully diminished role for newspapers in the years ahead.
    Mark
    footnote: I spent over 12 years as a reporter and editor, first in Texas, later at BusinessWeek

  7. Good interview…One key point stuck out when he said an online subscriber is worth 10% of what a print subscriber is worth to advertisers. This is partly the nature of the web, where info is valued differently, and possibly because print has been overvalued all along. The market is determining the true value of newspaper “news.” Their problem obviously is not just figuring out how to monetize the same information online, but to reinvent the the way they collect,edit, package and dispense it. It needs to be more personalized for one thing. The Mercury’s entertainment news is still a mess, to me, basically lists of events that you have to search through with crude tools. Why can’t this be packaged in a way so that I, as a middle aged consumer with certain interests, can easily go on and find events, activities, etc that fit my needs- or better yet a bot that does it for me, making suggestions along the way. They do have a resource, as he says, reporters who professionally report real news (vs bloggers who shoot from the hip) but unless they can figure out a way to leverage their information and come up with a new model for today’s audiences, I see a slow, painfully diminished role for newspapers in the years ahead.
    Mark
    footnote: I spent over 12 years as a reporter and editor, first in Texas, later at BusinessWeek

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