Newspapers without paper

troy record popups screengrabFrom a NYT profile of John Paton, who heads up the Journal Register Company -- parent company of the Troy Record and Saratogian: "Mr. Paton has become something of a darling among media thinkers for putting his business where his rhetoric is" [on pushing newspaper companies to be "digital first"]. One of the bits from Paton on the future of newspapers: "Some should probably be weeklies, or there may come a time when they don't put out a newspaper at all." (Based on what's happened locally, the future of newspapers also apparently involves a lot of popup ads.) Related: Columbia Journalism Review's Dean Starkman on the "limited vision of the news gurus" (includes Paton)

Comments

What's both amazing and disheartening is that we've been having this discussion about the future of newspapers since I went off to journalism school to be the next Woodward or Bernstein 31 years ago. Then, the enemy was the immediacy of television news, which turned out never to be a real threat to quality journalism because it has no attention span. But the economics kept changing, papers became fewer and editions fewer still, and now along comes the internet which can make television irrelevant, and one really has to wonder what's left for newspapers. It should be the ability to provide quality local news, but with the demise of local advertisers who care about that and need to support a vehicle for their advertising, it's just not clear how to monetize that. A shame, but a complicated shame.

No one hates those pop up ads more than we do at The Record....or pop "under" ads as they're calling them now....oy

The Troy Record is absolutely awful with the pop ups, pop under, and other annoyances. I only go to their site by accident and each time I can't wait to leave. I never understood why any site would work so hard to chase people away. Does not seem like a good business plan.

I actually like and prefer the TU digital version. They appear to charge more for the full digital subscription than a delivered subscription. What's with that! Plus, if you get say the Thursday - Sunday delivered they prevent you from the digital version on those days. Why! I would like to subscribe to a 7 day full digital subscription, with the Sunday delivered unless I'm out of town. Tried calling to find out if that was possible but customer service was closed by mid-afternoon. So I live without.

The sad and simple truth remains that newspapers have done a horrendous job of adapting to market forces that have been pointing away from them for years. The Record's "digital first" strategy doesn't seem to be amounting to much considering when they contact businesses to offer advertising opportunities they only offer print choices and never even talk about web-based concepts. Seems pretty misguided.

The TU just released its iPad app today. While it could benefit from some improvements, it's still not a bad effort. It will be interesting to see how well it fares.

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