Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Voice or Two Grows in San Diego

Let's be clear: lots of newspapers are encountering significant problems due to the Great Recession. That's been a theme I've been covering in this blog. Major market papers have closed or shifted to online-only, laid off or offered buy-outs to employees, shifted publication schedules, etc.

Lots of publications have been put quietly or quite loudly on the market -- with no takers, and deadlines for bids extended again and again.

It's been ugly.

But one point I've tried to make is that the problem print newspapers have been encountering does not have anything to do with circulation or readership demand.

In fact, it's clear that the public still wants and craves news.

They just may not be as attached to the actual paper it's been printed on.

The industry's problems are more financial than readership.

As we shifted from 8-track tape to CDs, we're now at an inflection point with delivery mechanisms of news.

The current Forbes offers a story about two news startups in San Diego, "San Diego News Shoot-Out: As a newspaper monopoly crumbles, unorthodox upstarts storm the marketplace. Welcome to the future of journalism." What it shows is that people are still interested in covering and delivering news -- just as there continues to be demand to read the news.

The challenges include:
  1. How to make the new news credible.
  2. How to make delivering the news -- in whatever format -- profitable or at at least sustainable.

It's worth checking out both startups profiled in the Forbes article.

The challenge for us in PR is to find ways to work with the new news -- and to provide context to our clients and bosses that these new outlets are indeed worthwhile to pursue.

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