David Finch

David Finch

One thing I could guarantee growing up in a small Midwestern farming community was that in our house there would always be two daily newspapers and RC cola. The newspaper for our family was the door into another world. It contained entry into distant lands, humor, games and even advice. It sparked conversations and influenced our view on the world. It shaped our politics and brought us closer to our heroes. It was more than a news channel it was a daily experience.

That daily experience has influenced the way that I consume the news. It’s very common for me to receive 2-3 newspapers a day, not to mention the global papers that I read online. There is a difference how I approach the two: The hard copy is a daily event. The online version is nothing more than a task – scouring for facts and ideas.

Will it be the Kindle?
On Wednesday, Amazon released their latest version of the Kindle that many are touting as the device that will save the newspaper. Larger screen, more memory, sharper images and text. It’s being branded as the perfect device for reading magazines and newspapers. It is also being pitched as a greener way to consume information. While all the things mentioned above are true, there’s one thing the Kindle can’t replace and that is the user experience.

It will take more than Twitter updates?
The latest trend is for newspapers to “tweet” their headlines that point their Twitter followers to their online articles. It’s very common to see headlines, but no conversation between the newspaper and the follower. To the newspaper industry, it’s nothing more than a broadcasting tool that announces the latest story. It’s an old idea in a new car trying to take you to the same old place. While I follow many news outlets on Twitter, I seldom click on their links, unless a friend has referred it to me.

Woody Lewis, social media strategist and web architect listed 10 ways newspapers are using social media to save their industry in a recent blog post at Mashable.com Here are a few ideas he mentions:

  • Creating online events to attract readers
  • Promoting and monetizing user generated content
  • Story-based communities
  • Collaborative outsourced news services
  • Customized delivery

While newspapers are stopping the presses and letting go of staff, there are those that are trying to incorporate some of the strategies that Woody mentions. However, in my opinion I think you’ll see more newspapers close their doors when they don’t see the return as quickly as anticipated.

The general pressure from within the newspaper industry is the loss of subscriptions, as well as advertising dollars. While I seldom hear anything in regards to the reader, there is plenty being said about the loss of revenue and how it is affecting the industry at large. It’s a race against time and a quest for more dollars.

It will take more than social media to save the newspaper.

Recreating the user experience
The day the newspaper industry recreates the user experience will be the day the newspaper is once again the talk of the town. If it is just looking for new channels then the future is grim, because I can find the news anywhere. The reason I read the newspaper is not because what it contains, but how it makes me feel and the memories that it invokes.  It connects me with my past while I read about the daily events.

Perhaps, the newspaper as we know it must die, not because its content isn’t relevant, or its attempts to use social media has failed, but because the consumer no longer identifies with it.

In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time, but until then I can guarantee you can find me every weekend with a cup of coffee, the New York Times, and my favorite jazz artists in the background.

What are your thoughts? Are you still reading newspapers? Do you think social media can save the day? If you had a chance to advise your favorite newspaper, what would you suggest?

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About David Finch

David Finch

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://savethemedia.com Gina Chen

    I agree with you. Social media won't save newspapers.

    It's a mindset change, which you suggest, that will save, maybe not newspapers, by journalism.

    Social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) are tools. Useful tools, I'd say, for journalists (I'm a reporter/editor), but by themselves, they are only tools.

    To me the real key is within your post: “While I seldom hear anything in regards to the reader, there is plenty being said about the loss of revenue and how it is affecting the industry at large.'

    That to me is the problem. Think of the reader. Connect with the reader's existing community. Help the reader make sense of the world. Create the experience/connection that you mention that you had with newspapers.

    That's what will save them. There's no magic bullet monetization secret out there. And social media can't really help unless it's a tool of conversation, connection, not broadcasting. Readers have plenty of information broadcast to them. What they need, I think, is journalism to help them make sense of it all.

  • http://savethemedia.com Gina Chen

    I agree with you. Social media won't save newspapers.

    It's a mindset change, which you suggest, that will save, maybe not newspapers, by journalism.

    Social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) are tools. Useful tools, I'd say, for journalists (I'm a reporter/editor), but by themselves, they are only tools.

    To me the real key is within your post: “While I seldom hear anything in regards to the reader, there is plenty being said about the loss of revenue and how it is affecting the industry at large.'

    That to me is the problem. Think of the reader. Connect with the reader's existing community. Help the reader make sense of the world. Create the experience/connection that you mention that you had with newspapers.

    That's what will save them. There's no magic bullet monetization secret out there. And social media can't really help unless it's a tool of conversation, connection, not broadcasting. Readers have plenty of information broadcast to them. What they need, I think, is journalism to help them make sense of it all.

  • http://www.ezinsurancequotes.com/term-life-insurance/term-life-quote/affordable-term-quote.html affordabletermquote

    For me newspapers will still be around unless the world stops using paper…naturally the news will remain.

  • http://www.ezinsurancequotes.com/term-life-insurance/term-life-quote/affordable-term-quote.html affordabletermquote

    For me newspapers will still be around unless the world stops using paper…naturally the news will remain.

  • http://www.ezinsurancequotes.com/term-life-insurance/term-life-quote/affordable-term-quote.html affordabletermquote

    For me newspapers will still be around unless the world stops using paper…naturally the news will remain.

  • http://www.ezinsurancequotes.com/term-life-insurance/term-life-quote/affordable-term-quote.html affordabletermquote

    For me newspapers will still be around unless the world stops using paper…naturally the news will remain.

  • http://www.ezinsurancequotes.com/term-life-insurance/term-life-quote/affordable-term-quote.html affordabletermquote

    For me newspapers will still be around unless the world stops using paper…naturally the news will remain.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that newspapers as we know them have an inevitable death coming. I also think that your point about recreating the user experience in right on. It’s no longer about simply providing news. It’s about becoming the choice source for news, which will largely depend on how readers are engaged. This will be quite an adjustment for those that haven’t already begun the shift.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that newspapers “as we know them” must die. I also think that your point about recreating the user experience in right on. It’s no longer about simply providing news. It’s about becoming the choice source for news, which will largely depend on how readers are engaged. This will be quite an adjustment for those that haven’t already begun the shift.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that newspapers “as we know them” must die. I also think that your point about recreating the user experience in right on. It’s no longer about simply providing news. It’s about becoming the choice source for news, which will largely depend on how readers are engaged. This will be quite an adjustment for those that haven’t already begun the shift.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that newspapers “as we know them” must die. I also think that your point about recreating the user experience in right on. It’s no longer about simply providing news. It’s about becoming the choice source for news, which will largely depend on how readers are engaged. This will be quite an adjustment for those that haven’t already begun the shift.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that newspapers “as we know them” must die. I also think that your point about recreating the user experience in right on. It’s no longer about simply providing news. It’s about becoming the choice source for news, which will largely depend on how readers are engaged. This will be quite an adjustment for those that haven’t already begun the shift.

  • nick b.

    Here are nine ways newspapers can survive. http://bit.ly/2Smfr

  • nick b.

    Here are nine ways newspapers can survive. http://bit.ly/2Smfr

  • nick b.

    Here are nine ways newspapers can survive. http://bit.ly/2Smfr

  • nick b.

    Here are nine ways newspapers can survive. http://bit.ly/2Smfr

  • nick b.

    Here are nine ways newspapers can survive. http://bit.ly/2Smfr

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  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    Newspapers should try and grab attention on Saturdays and Sundays. They should be able to send out targeted content on these two days. Just one suggestion.

  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    Newspapers should try and grab attention on Saturdays and Sundays. They should be able to send out targeted content on these two days. Just one suggestion.

  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    Newspapers should try and grab attention on Saturdays and Sundays. They should be able to send out targeted content on these two days. Just one suggestion.

  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    Newspapers should try and grab attention on Saturdays and Sundays. They should be able to send out targeted content on these two days. Just one suggestion.

  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    Newspapers should try and grab attention on Saturdays and Sundays. They should be able to send out targeted content on these two days. Just one suggestion.

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  • Mike

    Social media isn't the savior, and in all honesty, I don't think there is anything that can save the industry.

    Being a 20-something myself, I'm part of a generation that never woke up to read a newspaper. I was too busy being a kid to care about the news. Then, once I began to care, the internet was alive and well, and every bit of information was at my fingertips. Therefore, the newspaper brings no nostalgia, there is no emotional connection.

    What I want is instant gratification. I want efficiency. What I don't want is to play Where's Waldo trying to find the news I'm looking for in a sea of finely printed text.

    I think the Boomers are the only thing that will keep the medium alive, in physical form. Once they're gone, I believe the only place for newspapers will be online, and even that is a bit of a stretch as online news has already been established as free, a notion that consumers aren't likely to let go of.

  • Mike

    Social media isn't the savior, and in all honesty, I don't think there is anything that can save the industry.

    Being a 20-something myself, I'm part of a generation that never woke up to read a newspaper. I was too busy being a kid to care about the news. Then, once I began to care, the internet was alive and well, and every bit of information was at my fingertips. Therefore, the newspaper brings no nostalgia, there is no emotional connection.

    What I want is instant gratification. I want efficiency. What I don't want is to play Where's Waldo trying to find the news I'm looking for in a sea of finely printed text.

    I think the Boomers are the only thing that will keep the medium alive, in physical form. Once they're gone, I believe the only place for newspapers will be online, and even that is a bit of a stretch as online news has already been established as free, a notion that consumers aren't likely to let go of.

  • Mike

    Social media isn't the savior, and in all honesty, I don't think there is anything that can save the industry.

    Being a 20-something myself, I'm part of a generation that never woke up to read a newspaper. I was too busy being a kid to care about the news. Then, once I began to care, the internet was alive and well, and every bit of information was at my fingertips. Therefore, the newspaper brings no nostalgia, there is no emotional connection.

    What I want is instant gratification. I want efficiency. What I don't want is to play Where's Waldo trying to find the news I'm looking for in a sea of finely printed text.

    I think the Boomers are the only thing that will keep the medium alive, in physical form. Once they're gone, I believe the only place for newspapers will be online, and even that is a bit of a stretch as online news has already been established as free, a notion that consumers aren't likely to let go of.

  • Mike

    Social media isn't the savior, and in all honesty, I don't think there is anything that can save the industry.

    Being a 20-something myself, I'm part of a generation that never woke up to read a newspaper. I was too busy being a kid to care about the news. Then, once I began to care, the internet was alive and well, and every bit of information was at my fingertips. Therefore, the newspaper brings no nostalgia, there is no emotional connection.

    What I want is instant gratification. I want efficiency. What I don't want is to play Where's Waldo trying to find the news I'm looking for in a sea of finely printed text.

    I think the Boomers are the only thing that will keep the medium alive, in physical form. Once they're gone, I believe the only place for newspapers will be online, and even that is a bit of a stretch as online news has already been established as free, a notion that consumers aren't likely to let go of.

  • Mike

    Social media isn't the savior, and in all honesty, I don't think there is anything that can save the industry.

    Being a 20-something myself, I'm part of a generation that never woke up to read a newspaper. I was too busy being a kid to care about the news. Then, once I began to care, the internet was alive and well, and every bit of information was at my fingertips. Therefore, the newspaper brings no nostalgia, there is no emotional connection.

    What I want is instant gratification. I want efficiency. What I don't want is to play Where's Waldo trying to find the news I'm looking for in a sea of finely printed text.

    I think the Boomers are the only thing that will keep the medium alive, in physical form. Once they're gone, I believe the only place for newspapers will be online, and even that is a bit of a stretch as online news has already been established as free, a notion that consumers aren't likely to let go of.

  • erik

    I definitely think social media can save newspapers but only if newspapers use them the right way. I stopped following many of the news outlets' Twitter feeds because, as you point out, they are just posting links to stories on their websites. I'd like to see high profile journalists, especially critics, tweeting as they are developing stories.

    Newspapers should be aggregating content from the crowd and editing it. Imagine a complete product almost entirely sourced from the best user generated content out there, expertly edited by a top newsroom staff. It might even make an interesting – dare I say it – print product.

  • erik

    I definitely think social media can save newspapers but only if newspapers use them the right way. I stopped following many of the news outlets' Twitter feeds because, as you point out, they are just posting links to stories on their websites. I'd like to see high profile journalists, especially critics, tweeting as they are developing stories.

    Newspapers should be aggregating content from the crowd and editing it. Imagine a complete product almost entirely sourced from the best user generated content out there, expertly edited by a top newsroom staff. It might even make an interesting – dare I say it – print product.

  • erik

    I definitely think social media can save newspapers but only if newspapers use them the right way. I stopped following many of the news outlets' Twitter feeds because, as you point out, they are just posting links to stories on their websites. I'd like to see high profile journalists, especially critics, tweeting as they are developing stories.

    Newspapers should be aggregating content from the crowd and editing it. Imagine a complete product almost entirely sourced from the best user generated content out there, expertly edited by a top newsroom staff. It might even make an interesting – dare I say it – print product.

  • http://www.facebooklicious.com/services/facebook-game-developer Facebook Game Developer

    Hey David. I was really confused about social media. But now i think Social media is what mostly people really consider and think that it have strong impact on websites. And surely it helps them. Quite informative article. Thanks

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