For the past several years now, people have been claiming that the internet edition of the newspaper is ‘Newspaper 2.0.’ So if we follow that train of thought, moving the newspaper to a mobile device is now ‘Newspaper 3.0?’ Look folks, moving the print edition newspaper onto another medium is not a revelation. It doesn’t justify announcing a next-generation leap–especially when that move resulted in nothing less than cannibalizing the newspaper’s bread-and-butter legacy edition, cutting deep into their revenue base, and putting their sustainability in question.
Newspaper 1.0 is something we’re all very familiar with. Print technology and content management systems have improved dramatically since the inception of the newspaper, but the newspaper industry as a whole with its subscription/advertising business model has not changed since the 1700’s. The newspaper industry enjoyed a fat monopoly until radio arrived in 1906. Radio commercials hit the airwaves in 1922, followed by radio news in 1938. Television debuted in 1936, followed by television commercials in 1940, and television news broadcasts in 1948. But the newspaper industry stuck to their guns, finding ways to share market and even work side-by-side with their new local market competitors. When the internet came along, the old-world newspaper just figured they would embrace this new medium by pushing their print edition online. Newspaper 2.0? I don’t think so. If anything, the online and mobile editions are at best ‘Newspaper 1.5.’ The only thing that’s changed with 1.5 is that the newspaper now competes with a plethora of free information available on the web, as well as their own pay-for print edition.
The future of newspapers has been widely debated as the industry has faced down soaring newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, the loss of much classified advertising and precipitous drops in circulation. In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risen—especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001. Revenue has plunged while competition from internet media has squeezed older print publishers.
Newspaper 2.0 signifies a shift in the newspaper business model–the dawn of a new age for the newspaper industry. Newspaper 2.0 is designed to take the newspaper industry to new heights– making it the center of the local community and serving as the public go-to destination for local information and communication. Newspaper 2.0 is The Social Newspaper. Newspaper 2.0 transforms the legacy newspaper into a local super-communications medium, using an online platform as its primary medium, engaging the local community in a continuous online conversation, aggregating locally relevant content from external social media feeds, and then channeling newsworthy community and professional journalistic content out to the traditional print vehicle. In 2.0 the newspaper model shifts—its role, how it generates revenue, and how it serves the local community.
We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and comments on The Social Newspaper!