Friday, December 12, 2008

Publishers too timid to go online

Gary Andrews asks THE questions of the moment. After noting that local papers are struggling to stay afloat, he writes: "The irony could well be that by getting distracted by fire-fighting on the print front, local newspapers get caught out by the smoke starting to come from online." Then he asks...
"Would any newspaper be brave enough to completely shut down in a physical format and move everything online, adopting a more Web 2.0 way of doing news? Would it work? And how on earth would they monetise it?... But, even if it is a desperate last throw of the dice, what does a paper have to lose if it tries it?"
Andrews adds: "Not that I'd want to see papers disappear from their communities, but if it's a choice between online-only news and no news at all..."
Yes, yes and yes again. There's the rub. However much we love print, however much we'd like to see newsprint survive, what counts is the journalism, not the platform.
Why will not publisher take the risk by transforming a print paper into an online paper? It's surely better than simply closing titles altogether? By which I mean, better for the community.
It's amazing how often we heard about the public benefit when newspaper publishers were screaming blue murder about the BBC's proposal to expand its regional coverage. What benefit is there in shutting titles?

Source: The Guardian UK

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