From print to the web

Following on from his grim assessment of the English Indy’s future, media guru Roy Greenslade today instances the bad example of the Scotsman to show how important websites are becoming to a newspaper’s future. I must say though that judging from my occasional scans, Scotsman owners the notably lean ‘n fit Johnston press aren’t doing a bad job with the Newsletter whether you agree with its editorial line or not. Overall though, the press and the regional daily press in particular are just about as lean as they can afford to be. The Tele’s awkward synergy with the metropolitan Independent is not one any editor however innovative would chose on purely editorial grounds, much as I revere them both. With newspapers already facing market decline and now the recession, does the future lie with websites and their offspring the blog? Greenslade boldly answers the fears I raised in one of Mick’s paens to new media recently .

The problem, as every know-all traditionalist reporter likes to say, very loudly and all too often, is that no business model exists to fund effective online journalism. Websites can never do the job now done so brilliantly by newspapers. Let’s puncture those reactionary generalisations with some facts that suggest such fears are nonsense.”

Success in the US one thing, adopting the business model of the trust for websites here is another but we travel hopefully…

  • spy

    Ah but News Letter is up for sale again, Johnston press have given up it seems

  • oneill

    With newspapers already facing market decline and now the recession, does the future lie with websites and their offspring the blog?

    I guess the Bel Tel opening up its articles and reports for comments like The Scotsman is an attempt to drive up those all important visitor figures and ultimately advertising revenue.

    However, the sad (for the papers) fact is that the type of loons who infest The Scotsman’s comments zones and who are now moving in en-masse to the Tele’s are not really that great a long-term advertising potential. The important point, which seems to have been forgotten, is that quality of readership is as important as quantity when looking to rein in the really worthwhile advertisers.

  • Jean Baudrillard

    ’no business model exists to fund effective online journalism’

    I suspect the new line should be:

    ’no business model exists to fund effective journalism’

    (ie, neither online nor print.)

    It’s interesting to note that one of the biggest threats to regional newspaper revenue in the US has not yet become an issue here (although I assume it’s only a matter of time) – and that’s Craig’s List.

    For those who might be familiar with it – Craig’s List is a way for people to publish small ads on the web for free. It is almost as ubiquitous as Ebay with people doing everything from renting apartments to selling clapped out pick-ups.

    It is no exaggeration to say that CL is totally destroying the newspaper industry in the States – where small ads are a major source of revenue. Imagine a time not too many years (months?) from now when the Belfast Telegraph has no income from job, property or car adverts.

    Online may be the last refuge of serious journalism. And with increasingly easy on-the-go access to the web (eg, iPhone or gPhone) paper based newspaper media may not be necessaty anyway.

  • Dec

    Ah but News Letter is up for sale again, Johnston press have given up it seems

    Constant scare-mongering about ‘themmuns’ not selling papers? How refreshing. Nice work, Darwin.

  • Submariner

    Dec indeed since Templeton took over the Newsletter has become a Protestant Pravda with absolutely no journalistic content worth the name.

  • Southern Newsreader

    I read papers from all over the world and I always have a quick look at the news letter, it just amazes me at how it chooses to ignore anything Irish. Today there was no mention about the Munster vs All Black match, really funny, it’s like a paper that is totally paranoid.

  • Submariner

    it’s like a paper that is totally paranoid.

    Thats why its so popular amongst the Unionist population it feeds their sense of paranoia perfectly

  • Submariner

    I read papers from all over the world and I always have a quick look at the news letter, it just amazes me at how it chooses to ignore anything Irish.
    Indeed it totally ignores the largest supported sport in NI

  • alfie b

    Submariner – WRONG. The NL covers Premier League football, the most supported sport in NI.

    And by the way, it also covers the sectarian GAA “football” thingy, much to the discomfort of most of us.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Of course the Irish News is always reliably amusing in its tortuous efforts to avoid using the term UK lest it offend its readers’ sensitivities.
    For example: Inflation in the north and Britain fell last month……
    And there was I thinking that being concise was a cardinal rule of reporting.

  • ignus

    Yes, why doesn’t the News Letter reach out to nationalists who will never buy it anyway and start printing its stories in Gaelic? That would be a brilliant commercial strategy, wouldn’t it?

  • I read papers from all over the world and I always have a quick look at the news letter, it just amazes me at how it chooses to ignore anything Irish.

    Really depends on what your definition of “Irish” is, it seems jam-packed with Irish news to me.

    And it might seem a rather obvious point to make, but The Newsletter, the Irish News, Belfast Media Group and even the Belly Laugh are not state-owned media organisations operating under a strict impartiality guidelines like, *ahem*, the BBC. They attempt to cater for a specific audience, if that audience doesn’t exist then they either change editorial line or go out of business…like Daily Ireland.

  • Southern newsreader

    I don’t except some of the points above, take the Belfast telegraph, its editorial line is unionist, but at least it is not paranoid and has Southern stories, and even features that green eyed monster GAA.
    Does anyone recall when a lot of school girls got killed in the Navan bus crash, well the newsletter barely mentioned it.
    The paper live in a cotton wool world where anything Irish is bad.
    Its sad really – it must make a loss.