Thursday, May 03, 2007

The future of print news media, according to Mr. Magazine

Samir Husni is a leading magazine industry consultant and teaches journalism at the University of Mississippi. Recently, he sat down with Mediashift’s Mark Glaser and talked in depth about the future for print newspapers and magazines vis-à-vis the online threat.

Mr. Magazine’s most important advice:
More analysis, less of stale data.

Mr. Husni (from hereforth as Mr. Magazine ) says that 'the immediacy of news delivery can no longer be done in a newspaper... You cannot compete with the web or mobile devices for immediacy'.

Those in the business have started acknowledging this publicly. A student journalist recently said this, as reported in Romenesko:

The paper news should provide long-form, in-depth coverage, while the Internet should be interactive, immediate, provide an open dialog with the audience and throw in all those nifty doo-dads and videos people love to play with."
I have summarized Mr. Magazine’s advice from the interview, adding some related data wherever I could.

- Change the name of a newspaper to daily paper.

- Go beyond the 5 W’s and H [who, when, what, where, why and how] and start talking about ‘what’s in it for me?’ and leave the 5 W’s and H to electronic delivery.

- Provide more in-depth analysis on a few topics.

- Deepen the story. More narrative and more pictures.

- Do not be afraid of full-page stories.

Print has competition from the web in another place: Recent research shows people like to read long, single page articles online.

I think it was Jeff Jarvis who said that newspapers are becoming more like newsweeklies in terms of coverage depth; newsweeklies like Fortnightlies, fortnightlies like Monthlies; monthlies like quarterlies.
The battle for extended coverage is on.

On newsweeklies and magazines
Mr. Magazine says they were wrong in putting their content online.

1. At no website do they ever say, ‘By the way, you need to go back to the paper to read page 20 where we have this article that you’ll only find on page 20 today.’ There is no two-way street, we have created a one-way street and people get lost in the jungle [online].

2. The day I cancelled my subscription to Newsweek was when I saw in print a snippet of an interview, and below that it said, ‘For the whole interview go to msnbc.newsweek.com.’ I am paying money and you are offering me less in print than what I can get for free on the web.

Bringing in more service aspects to the business model
The new publisher is a marketer.

Print is the cornerstone to take more readers online.

You pick up National Geographic or Conde Nast Traveler magazine and read a marvelous 20-page article about Italy with gorgeous photography. At the end of the article, you [could] say, ‘Interested in going to Italy? Check our website and see all the hotels and museums.’ All the service aspects. Of if, you go to the website you see all these services, and then it says, ‘Interested in going to Italy? Pick up the magazine for this article.’
Changes in journalism education
Teaching people what works in each media, how one media complements other is very important.

What online newspapers and magazines lack
They lack complementary media. What works in print does not necessarily work online and vice versa.

The ‘Teens don’t read anymore’ myth
Mr. Magazine says teens have rarely been big readers of newspapers and magazines. However, they will read all information relevant to them.

He asks, “Why do kids read 700 pages Harry Potter book?”.
True. Many adults have bought Harry Potter books never to pick them up and read. Too thick, they say.

On online-only magazines (Salon, Slate)

One can go online without a print magazine. Salon and Slate took huge amounts of money to be where they are.

It depends on your business model: costs, revenue.

Costs are very important to manage to survive in the long run.
True. Building media brands requires time and money.

Using Citizen Journalism
He cites the example of JPG magazine, a hybrid of Digg-like submission & voting and regular publishing.

A journalist can be a blogger. But a blogger is not a journalist.

- The blog is like a virtual barbershop.

Print publishers’ wrong publishing model
Catering to advertisers instead of readers.

Publishing magazines to win awards, or to fight against other magazines.

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2 Comments:

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At 9:42 PM , Blogger lifestyle said...

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