08 April 2005

What newspapers can do that blogs and online publishers cannot

I've been thinking about publishing: Electronic vs hardcopy.

Some have suggested that their newspaper has to compete with online content. I'm going to take a different perspective.

Rather than ask "what electronic features do newspapers need to do better than the internet in order to compete," I'd rather ask another question:
What publishing advantages do newspapers have over electronic formats?
One thing that came to mind was the physical size of the computer screen, and the normal printer size that most people have.

Granted, companies like mimeo can deliver large print jobs through FedEd. Yet, I'm still intrigued that a newspaper is relatively cheap, fast, and has large pages.

Could newspapers more effectively compete with online content if they did more "large page publishing"?

Would readers value large charts, schedules, and flow charts that are difficult to print on a relatively small home computer?

Clearly, the problem is that for a "large picture or flowchart" to be sellable as a newspaper's competiiv advantage over an electronic version, one would need to show that there are enough readers for that content.

At worst, the larger pictures and diagrams could turn off the readers.

Then again, large flow charts might make the large number of stories more digestable and provide better structure to the day's news.

  • Would this duplicate the US News and World Report approach?

  • Or could this "more valuable structure" only come if the content was individually tailored to the individual subscriber?

    One other thought I've had is that it would sometimes be nice to have a daily publication arrive that outlines the neat online content. However, is this just an excuse to put on paper what should be electronic?

    It is still easier to click a link from a web-review than manually upload the links from a newspaper. Could an OPML file for that particlar newsprint edition be disseminated?

    Or is that parrallel publication simply redundant, and better integrated into a single package, which aready exists online?

    What I do like about newspapers is that you can physically hold them, they are a capsule of the events, and they tend to cmoparmetnalized everything. As soon as I'm done reading the newspaper, that's it until the next edition.

    Yet, the same approach occurs with an aggregator. We review our material, and then go onto other things. Then the next day we review the new information.

    However, I have yet to see a cheap, simple method of printing glossy-quality prints we can buy in cheaply-priced but high quality journals and magazines.

    In the end, I suppose I'm somewhat disappointed that newspapers seem to be just rolling over when it comes to competing with online content. I think there are aspects of large newsprint that are superior to online: Physically holding the publication; and the physical size of the image; pre-publication.

    It's alot easier to simply cut out a news artcle and paste it on the refrigerator. The raggy edges are more appealing than putting another article which could be an office memo under a magnet.

    Or does this mean tht refrigerator magnets and refrigertors need to be redesigned to better integrate with XML tools, content, and publication formats. . .

    More about comparing newspapers and blogs
  • I've been thinking about publishing: Electronic vs hardcopy.

    Some have suggested that their newspaper has to compete with online content. I'm going to take a different perspective.

    Rather than ask "what electronic features do newspapers need to do better than the internet in order to compete," I'd rather ask another question:
    What publishing advantages do newspapers have over electronic formats?
    One thing that came to mind was the physical size of the computer screen, and the normal printer size that most people have.

    Granted, companies like mimeo can deliver large print jobs through FedEd. Yet, I'm still intrigued that a newspaper is relatively cheap, fast, and has large pages.

    Could newspapers more effectively compete with online content if they did more "large page publishing"?

    Would readers value large charts, schedules, and flow charts that are difficult to print on a relatively small home computer?

    Clearly, the problem is that for a "large picture or flowchart" to be sellable as a newspaper's competiiv advantage over an electronic version, one would need to show that there are enough readers for that content.

    At worst, the larger pictures and diagrams could turn off the readers.

    Then again, large flow charts might make the large number of stories more digestable and provide better structure to the day's news.

  • Would this duplicate the US News and World Report approach?

  • Or could this "more valuable structure" only come if the content was individually tailored to the individual subscriber?

    One other thought I've had is that it would sometimes be nice to have a daily publication arrive that outlines the neat online content. However, is this just an excuse to put on paper what should be electronic?

    It is still easier to click a link from a web-review than manually upload the links from a newspaper. Could an OPML file for that particlar newsprint edition be disseminated?

    Or is that parrallel publication simply redundant, and better integrated into a single package, which aready exists online?

    What I do like about newspapers is that you can physically hold them, they are a capsule of the events, and they tend to cmoparmetnalized everything. As soon as I'm done reading the newspaper, that's it until the next edition.

    Yet, the same approach occurs with an aggregator. We review our material, and then go onto other things. Then the next day we review the new information.

    However, I have yet to see a cheap, simple method of printing glossy-quality prints we can buy in cheaply-priced but high quality journals and magazines.

    In the end, I suppose I'm somewhat disappointed that newspapers seem to be just rolling over when it comes to competing with online content. I think there are aspects of large newsprint that are superior to online: Physically holding the publication; and the physical size of the image; pre-publication.

    It's alot easier to simply cut out a news artcle and paste it on the refrigerator. The raggy edges are more appealing than putting another article which could be an office memo under a magnet.

    Or does this mean tht refrigerator magnets and refrigertors need to be redesigned to better integrate with XML tools, content, and publication formats. . .

    More about comparing newspapers and blogs
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