Are Newspapers Still Relevant In a Digital World?by James Shaw, Creative Director/Principal, Twin Creek Media
In a word, yes.
Newspapers have a unique place in the marketing world. For many, reading the local newspaper is nothing short of a sacred ritual along with their morning coffee and fuzzy slippers. I would say though that the relevancy of newspapers for the generations below Boomers is increasingly questionable. My gut feelings tend to go against the data released by NADbank (Newspaper Audience Databank) recently. Their data is frankly startling, but I'll be the first to admit that hard facts trump my "feelings". NADbank's website states that the NADbank 2009 Study provides newspaper readership data for 83 daily newspapers in 53 markets and 60 community newspapers in 33 markets across Canada. The study's authors go on to speak confidently about the relevancy of newspapers, leading with the headline:
"NEWSPAPERS REMAIN AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE FOR CANADIANS Once again, daily newspapers have demonstrated their value to Canadians. Despite constant rumours of their imminent demise, newspapers continue to be a relevant source for news and information across Canada. Over three-quarters (77% - 14.7 million) of adults living in markets where a daily newspaper is available read either a printed or online edition each week."
Okay, okay. But a healthy dose of skepticism should be allowed, right?
After all, I can't help but notice that the entire study appears to be a bit self-serving. NADbank's committees are stacked with newspaper employees and media agency people. Anyway, I digress... Mitch Joel, a guy I admire in the digital marketing arena, wrote an interesting article about the topic. He muses that the future of news may be online. Joel writes on his TwistImage blog,
"When looking at how these free, digital-only publishing houses work compared to the traditional news media, the differences are staggering. From how the journalists are found, managed and paid to the marketing and advertising models, to the actual management infrastructure, one would not be hard-pressed to say that they look nothing like the industry that they inherited and digitized. Maybe the newspaper industry has to look well beyond the current model of simply copying-and-pasting their print content and publishing it online to re-imagining what publishing means in a world where 20 people and a WordPress publishing platform can do the job using text, images, audio and video that it used to take 200 people to do in a fraction of the time and cost."
I found Mitch Joel's blog post to be very interesting, not to mention the responses it garnered. I'll end this article with my highly subjective take on the subject, which I orginally wrote as a comment on his site.