Why are newspapers in big trouble? And why don’t they look like they are ever going to get out of it? Because they still think of themselves as news-papers. Not media companies.
Google is Google. Just try to define them. Software company? Wrong. They sell hardware. Internet company? Wrong. They create green products. People don’t realize it but Google is what GE wishes they were but claims to be. Newspapers are newspapers. They aren’t much more. They still make a newspaper online with some code written around it.
Why do they do it? Centuries of expectations that only exist in the minds of entrenched newspaper employees. They live by the rules of journalism and paper and ink. So what comes of the day when people forget what paper and ink feels like? Well those days are now.
What can newspapers do?
1. Stop paying lip service to being web first and do it. Make an investment in technology (this includes people and hardware/software).
2. Train all over your employees to understand the web. Not optional training.
3. If you want to be Google you have to think like Google. Launch many products in their alpha/beta stage and learn as you develop. This means creating diverse products which are promoted by the newspaper website.
4. Write stories that appeal to ever niche in your region: mothers, towns, cities, religions, music tastes, ages, etc. If you can’t be more local than Google, AP, Reuters, etc. then why are you in business?
5. There are companies who barely exist today that get angel investors and venture capital to invest in their future–why aren’t newspapers?