Media Magazine

Printed Newspapers’ Frequency: Less May Be Best

Posted on the 10 August 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. Next blog post is Monday, August 13.

TAKEAWAY:It’s a reality that digital publishing continues to rule the day, as it should, and, while the printed companion platform will be there, it will be published less than daily, perhaps only on weekends.

Another US newspaper, this time The Oregonian,  is in the news because its New Jersey-based owner, Advanced Publications, Inc., has announced that it is moving to a Web-based model and publishing schedules are likely to change at many of its newspapers.

A trend? More a sign of the times, in my view, and not to be generally applied in every case. However, a topic of discussion that should be in the radar of publishers already.

Frequently these days editors and publishers begin a workshop by asking if I foresee a day when their newspaper would not print daily.  I believe that we will see more newspapers going to a three-day a week publishing schedule, but for which newspapers and in what countries may vary considerably.

For example, I cannot imagine many newspapers in India or Brazil, where readership of the printed product remains relatively strong, going that way anytime soon.

I also know that the impact of digital is robust, and, as we have seen with recent results announced by The New York Times, the various business models created to increase revenue in that area, are beginning to bear fruit.

So, the combination of a busier and more digitally minded media consumer, better business models and improved content available through mobile phones and online, plus the added cherry on top—-the popularity of the tablet for news consumption—all add up to a clear picture: while print may always be part of the media quartet, it may not necessarily resemble the daily printed daily newspaper as we know it today.

If I were to try to guess what the printed newspaper of the future might be like, especially in midsize to larger markets, and in the US specifically in the short term, it would be a weekend product—-rich and varied in its content, multi sections, emphasis on more analysis and features, and a fresh and loyal companion to its digital cousins, which would be there to carry the ball 24/7.

Possible models

Two German newspapers come to mind as offering a combination of elements that would be a winning cocktail for a weekend-only newspaper:  Die Zeit’s excellent analysis and interpretation on news and trends with the Bild am Sonntag’s (Sundays) colorful and very graphic coverage of everything under the sun, with a good dose of popular culture, entertainment and just plain fun for a real Sunday lean back experience. Mix and pour over colorful pages printed on better than normal stock.

This is the type of discussion that should already be taking place in most newsrooms today.  For newspapers in the United States, it is not a matter of IF they go to a less frequent publication cycle but WHEN.  Nonetheless, this would not be a bad preparatory exercise for newsrooms everywhere to be engaged in already.

The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

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Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab

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Mario Garcia’s upcoming speaking engagements:

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WAN-IFRA World Editors Forum, Kiev, Ukraine, Sept. 2-5

Cumbre Mundial de Diseño en Prensa 2012: Mexico City; September 24-26

SND (Society of News Design) Cleveland; Oct. 11-13

TheMarioBlog post #1073

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