Saturday, 29 January 2011

Regional newspapers: 10 things to expect

Here is my article for the latest edition of InPublishing magazine - the ten things that ought to happen in the regional newspaper industry this year. At a glance they are: 
1. Stop the war
Before we rebuild newspapers we have to rebuild the internal relationships between management and staff.
2. Change (the) management
We have lost subs and editors but what about those who are meant to be guiding us through? The industry needs fresh blood and thinking, right up to the very top.
3. Chase the money
We need a radical approach to sales and innovative, skilled people to implement it.
4. Sort out the content
Readers need a genuine reason to buy the paper or visit the website every day. It means original, quality, targeted and real time content. Without it there is no business.
5. Stop doing things that aren't core
Expect cuts in distribution, printing, accounts. It's all about content and sales now - everything else can be sold, outsourced or closed down.
6. Go weekly
A weekly analysis of events, complementing a comprehensive, hyperlocal digital news service, would be more relevant than a daily print offering out-of-date news. There are nearly 30 evening papers selling less than 20,000. Expect there to be fewer at the end of the year.
7. Stop talking paywalls
Regional newspapers need to maintain and grow our audience and they won't do that by excluding swathes of the community.
8. Stop paying lip-service to local 
Newspapers have to genuinely get things done, organise events, become community leaders, be central to the economic fabric and get their reporters out.
9. Stay at home
2011 should be the year when the industry wakes up to the real advantages of home-working and outsourcing.   
10. Think about running a dry-cleaners 
Regional newspapers' best chance will be owners who genuinely care about the titles, work hard to ensure they succeed and know the community they serve. A local business with realistic margins … like a dry cleaners.
I also asked the great and the good of the industry what regional newspapers should be doing in 2011 - and have included their thoughts.   

1 comment:

  1. Very very wise words indeed! Thanks for the little sneak peek!