We’ve read for a while the steady decline of the Newspaper and the phenomenal rise of the social network – is it just me or is there an opportunity there?
I have written for a while now about my respect for the majority of journalists and the essential hunger for news on a local level. In my opinion the day of the mass or global news received via a paper is close to the end, there are just too many sources that provide it quicker and better, local news however is a different story. The physical newspaper I am confident will turn into a weekend publication with daily updates provided online by RSS feeds, emails, tweets and updates subscribed to on your social network.
I wrote a piece on newspaper design on 38 Minutes earlier this year highlighting the work of Jacek Utko, a graphic designer who applied his talent to Eastern European newspapers, transforming the sales of those papers he was given the opportunity to work on. He recognises that it is not design alone that will save the newspaper industry. Does anyone remember the “Today” newspaper, the only one with colour for 4 years (late 1980’s) – there was a spike in newspaper circulation when colour was introduced, the content of Today was fairly weak, it didn’t find its niche and lost the battle.
We read that local newspapers are on the increase (Press and Journal to name but one); is this down to a specific and targeted consumer with a local angle, local reference points and an opportunity to build a rapport with a local readership? As with social networks we tend to trust those close to us, long term friends that refer someone they know and have a familiar reference point to discus.
So, am I suggesting that in order to survive the likes of The Scotsman, Herald and Daily Record turn their attention to a new design for the paper and transform their websites into social networks that feed local news to well respected community groups to distribute to their content?
I love the new website design of the Herald; I get the feeling however that there are circulations out there that make their websites deliberately awkward to use so people will buy the paper, are they delaying the inevitable?
There are many parts to this question, not least the impact of the BBC on the sale of news but if social media has made such a huge impact on communication surely it should be courted by news rooms?