Communities and Newspapers

At one time, print newspapers were often the mirror a community used to look back at itself. That’s of course all changed today; and print newspapers now seem to some people to be less and less relevant to their daily lives. (I’m still a big fan of print newspapers, but I’m over 40.)

Along those lines, iMedia ran a piece today on how community and social media functionality are helping some newspapers grow and retain audiences online. The piece is written by Jacqui Chew, who is using it indirectly to promote her company’s services. But she offers some good case studies and makes some good points.

I don’t agree with the implied point that simply adding social media tools will be transformative for online newspapers and their audiences. However, community in a broad sense is intimately connected to the historical mission of newspapers and should be a strong element of online newspapers or their specialized “off brand” online publications.

Thoughtfully implemented, community can be a highly successful strategy that is not contrived, but core to the local community values and legacy of most print newspapers.

2 Responses to “Communities and Newspapers”

  1. Social Networking and Local Online News at Ghost of Midnight Says:

    […] Greg Sterling reports about a piece written by Jacqui Chew for iMedia about “how community and social media […]

  2. dailyindependent Says:

    Hi Greg, I work for a smallish newspaper in California. I believe that social networking sites and dominant news sites (like CNN.com or MSN.com) have certainly changed how the public gets their daily news information. I myself have never had a newspaper subscription until I worked for one. Coming from the tech industry, it was always easier to get my news online, with the added benefit of choosing topics I wanted to research further, and having the research tool right in front of me.

    One of my projects is to make our web site http://www.ridgecrestca.com more involved, with a guestbook and fresh content 5 times a week, and gaining more User Generated Content, which is why we have a blog, at http://dailyindependent.wordpress.com/

    Ultimately, I don’t think print media will truly die out, as some people suggest. I do agree that to retain the young readership, those who are in High School right now for example, will not be buying newspaper subscriptions even 10 years down the road.

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