Brent Boyer

Brent Boyer

Brent Boyer: Newspapers must focus on Web

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News from within the newspaper industry has been pretty dire in recent weeks.

The Rocky Mountain News, said to be Colorado's oldest business, is for sale. It's hard to be optimistic that a buyer will emerge during these economic times to take on a business projected to lose $15 million next year.

The Tribune Co., owner of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times as well as the Chicago Cubs baseball team and nearly two dozen TV stations, filed for bankruptcy Monday. The news came even after the company had slashed jobs at the Tribune and the LA Times during the past couple of years.

The McClatchy Co. is attempting to sell The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune is cutting another 25 newsroom positions, and Gannett will have cut about 3,000 newspaper jobs at its 85 daily newspapers by the time the year ends.

This all leads to a logical question: Is the newspaper industry doomed?

There isn't an easy answer, but there's no doubt the news media - newspapers in particular - must adapt their business models if they are to succeed in a rapidly evolving media landscape. First and foremost, that means figuring out how to capture substantial revenues from the Internet.

I don't pretend to know much about generating revenues, but it's not hard to determine what newspapers such as the Steamboat Pilot & Today can do on the editorial side to attract readers to their Web sites.

Most important is having fresh content updated throughout the day. Web sites that don't offer something new don't get visited again. During the past couple weeks, we've worked hard to keep www.steamboatpilot.com relevant throughout the day, including posting news from other Colorado resort communities such as Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Durango. We're also adding hypertext links within stories to send readers directly to related content, be it archived stories about a similar topic or other Web pages that provide additional information about a particular subject.

I'm also committed to providing more video content, which should be easier for online readers to access once we move to a Flash video format in the near future.

Frequent weather updates and ski reports should give readers another reason to check in frequently with www.steamboatpilot.com, and the newspaper's Twitter account (username: steamboatpilot) provides updated links to stories as they're posted to our site.

The future - and, increasingly, the present - of the news media is online, and the longer it takes us to adapt from both the business and editorial perspectives, the more we'll continue to hear about the demise of the industry.

If you have ideas for how we can continue to improve our Web site, call me at 871-4221 or e-mail editor@steamboatpilot.com.

Comments

JLM 5 years, 9 months ago

Hahahaha, it's Bush's fault? LOL

The news business is pretty damn solid, it's the delivery mechanism which is under attack. When the airlines went to paperless travel documents, they didn't destroy air travel in the process, they just changed the administrative system.

The news is more interesting and vital than ever before. Who doesn't like reading current events? Hey, I even dig reading about Gov Blago and how we elected the only honest guy in Chicago politics to the Presidency. It's informative and interesting.

The challenge for newspapers is to be in the news business while exploring the delivery mechanism alternatives.

The fact that we are communicating about this subject on a web site comment board says a whole lot.

Of course, it really could all be Bush's fault as we all know, etc. etc. etc. LOL

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ybul 5 years, 9 months ago

The news business is not solid. They pound a story into your head right or wrong until you believe it. They o not report on issues that should be, trying not to offend any one, as they do not want to lose advertising dollars.

So yes the people disenfranchised by the papers slanted news coverage (or lack of), is a large part of the problem.

Believe what you want but when we start seeing stories about why a swat team was called in for a potential food safety issue at a small food cooperative (www.rwefree.com) and stories which present their advertisers in a negative light, then maybe the news media will again be relevant, today the media is mainly propaganda.

It is nice that the newspapers allow discussion to take place. It is unfortunate that the major players do not do so in a meaningful way.

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JLM 5 years, 9 months ago

I do not mean to imply that the content of news stories is solid, but rather that the general demand for news is solid. I agree that the content is often slanted but in some ways that is the result of the free market at work. You can listen to MSNBC or CNN or FOX and get a different slant on the same stories.

Perhaps what is more disturbing is that the "truth" is not consistently reflected in the news.

There is a huge difference among facts, interpretation of facts and commentary. We are getting confused as to which is which.

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ybul 5 years, 9 months ago

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That is why people are turning away from newspapers. The internet allows people to go much deeper into a news story than, would any article because of space limitations, and the desire to put a slant on the news.

I appreciate the acknowledgement that the news is slanted. Even in the case of W and no W is not at fault, but simply an example of a lack of investigative journalism.

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JLM 5 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps one of the benefits is that people are now being required to think for themselves again. I like listening to Rush and Keith O but I don't believe their spin on things. I do appreciate hearing their take on things but I can make up my own mind.

Case in point is the recent doings in Illinois. The corruption is incredible but not unknown. No real surprises to me but the extent and the barbaric simplicity of it is jarring. Kind of stupid also.

So, it makes me wonder if our new President can be by and of the corrupt Chicago machine but not tainted by it --- notice I did not say a "part" of it just "tainted".

Obama, Emanual and Axelrod were the campaign advisors --- formal announced campaign brainpower --- of both Blago's initial election campaign and his re-election.

Blago took Rostenkowski's Congressional seat and relinquished it to run for Governor. Who got it after him? Rahm Emanuel.

Blago endorsed Obama twice and Obama endorsed Blago twice.

Funny thing is that in spite of all of this, I actually don't think Obama did anything wrong but I am convinced he knew wrongdoing was going on.

This is the degree of detail and subtlety that I desire from my news sources the ability to get a lot of seemingly disconnected facts, weave them into a coherent whole and think through the implications.

A useful thing that newspapers can provide is head to head debate by folks who know what they are talking about --- of course, a bit short in supply, eh?

And, hey, have a nice damn day!

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ybul 5 years, 9 months ago

I have concerns about Obama, and the superstar status he has today.

However, you as a believer in the fed, probably do not pay much attention to what actually matters, money a store of wealth. What seems to have received little attention in the news is the amount of money committed and the secrecy, more importantly, that this money is being moved from the public to the private sector.

The lack of coverage of Bloomberg's suit against the fed to disclose the details of 2 trillion dollars in loans, is what needs covered. We need to know what is happening to the nearly 8 trillion dollars that have been committed to save institutions that are too large to fail, (more importantly too large and should be broken up into organizations that can fail and in which the CEO has a long term vested interest in the company).

Seems to me that without a public outcry about the secrecy, and corruption that exists at all levels.

The article about a SWAT team raiding a food cooperative, shows how draconian and dictatorial the government has become (at all levels).

I am sorry but as I said before, both sides rant about points that are immaterial, in the grand scheme of things.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 9 months ago

The big threat to newspaper is the web and not because people have stopped reading newspapers, it is because people place ads on the web instead of in newspapers. Craig's list has killed the classified ad business in so many cities. And services such asGoodle's Adsense also competes for print advertising dollars.

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