Digital Concepts to Serve the
– Leverage social media technologies that embrace the concept of active reader engagement
– Embrace new mobile solutions that deliver content in context to a person’s preferences
– Provide hyper-local content that is a platform of individual communities
Walter Isaacson – TIME – February 2009
The problem is that fewer of these consumers Newspapers and magazines traditionally have
are paying. Instead, news organizations are had three revenue sources: newsstand sales,
merrily giving away their news. According to subscriptions and advertising. The new
a Pew Research Center study, a tipping business model relies only on the last of these.
point occurred last year: more people in That makes for a wobbly stool even when the
the U.S. got their news online for free than one leg is strong. When it weakens — as
paid for it by buying newspapers and countless publishers have seen happen as a
magazines. Who can blame them? Even an result of the recession — the stool can't possibly
old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to stand.
the New York Times, because if it doesn't see
fit to charge for its content, I'd feel like a fool Another group that benefits from free journalism
paying for it. is Internet service providers. They get to charge
customers $20 to $30 a month for access to the
Web's trove of free content and services. As a
result, it is not in their interest to facilitate easy
ways for media creators to charge for their
content. Thus we have a world in which
phone companies have accustomed kids to
paying up to 20 cents when they send a text
message but it seems technologically and
psychologically impossible to get people to
pay 10 cents for a magazine, newspaper or
Digitally Powered Emerging Media for Newspapers
• In Web design, convenience and simplicity of user experience rules the day
– Personalization and local relevance is key to staying top of mind (niche sites – e.g.
– Customizable homepages pertaining to personal preferences/data exchange
• If national and international news is being commoditized, hyper-local is still the
dominion of local newspapers
– Help me know whatever it takes to live here (Source: Newspaper Next 2.0)
• Master long and short form journalism
– Micro blogging tools like Twitter especially important to deliver real-time updates
– What are my friends reading? What is my favorite reporter doing right now?
• Destination sites and distributed content equally important – target your readers
where they live online
– Atomization of content via RSS feeds, syndication, widgets, mobile apps
Guiding Principles (con’t)
Digitally Powered Emerging Media for Newspapers
• Layer in social, mobile and utility that helps readers and advertisers
– Apps that connect me with other likeminded people in my community, help me find
things to do, help me to better know my community, help me find a job/a used car/a
date (Nike + model)
– Explore new emerging consumer platforms such as the iPhone = new advertising
– GPS aware devices can find the restaurant review of my paper; provide coupon to
local coffee shop or directions to the nearest happy hour
– Others: Early Edition iPhone app; podcasts of important articles; video reporting
• Respect the “wisdom of the crowds”
– Dell IdeaStorm and implications for journalism – what would you like us to report
• Best content wins
– Embrace the concept of citizen journalism and allow (enforce) community
– Deliver content that can’t be found elsewhere; syndicated + UGC + original
• Provide better integration with print by understanding cross channel behavior
– Online comments or guest community bloggers published in the print edition
Customizable Homepages – Facebook Example
Newspapers can learn something from Facebook’s design by making their user experiences
more personalized by providing customizable home pages for readers – whether it is a stay
at home mom in a suburban community interested in her local school board and
connecting with other moms, or the downtown hipster more interested in daily nightlife
Micro-blogging & “Short-Form Journalism”
U.S Airways Hudson River Crash and Community Collaboration
Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida scooped the mainstream media by posting the first photo of
U.S. Airways flight 1549 on Twitter from his iPhone. Newspapers could bolster local coverage by
embracing multiple Twitter feeds for breaking local news, and enhance that coverage with
traditional pieces that provide more analysis. Newspapers should also promote the opportunity
to “follow your favorite reporter” via Twitter.
Long & Short-Form Working Together
Article, Blog and Comments Integration for Breaking News
The Toronto Globe and Mail uses Cover It Live, a live‐blogging/discussion tool that provides interactive
coverage of breaking news and live events such as conferences and hearings. Real‐time comments, audio
and video postings, and polls are among the types of content that can also be recorded.
Community Collaboration & Citizen Journalism
Short-Form vs. Longer-Form Analysis
Subject: Recent rash of downtown accidents having a major impact to the evening commute.
Tweet about recent traffic accident downtown + Newspaper analysis on reasons
behind the recent rash of
accidents & the Mayor’s task force
to investigate solutions
Decide in which cases readers could do just as good a job, and in doing so become more
engaged with the paper
The key would be to acknowledge that while “scrapbook news” is news, certain kinds of news might
not carry the same burden of expertise, professionalism, polish or objectivity.
Journalism should leverage the crowd to create a combined truth reached from all perspectives, rather
than a single truth that found its way to the surface among other latent ones.
Source: Publishing 2.0
Reserve Budget for Experimentation
Embrace User‐Generated Content & New Content Types
Those who don’t want to actually read the news on handheld devices—what about listening to their
favorite newspaper through podcasts and audio recordings? Reporters should file mp3s of their articles
along with their print stories, so people listening in their cars can participate. There’s already a slew of
podcasts on sites like the NYTimes.com, but there are none based on the newest of the new
information—like a radio station. Source: New York Observer
In Sum …
• In Web design, personal relevance is a stronger draw than one size fits all
• Respect the “wisdom of the crowds” and their participation in the process
• Best content wins – Develop a three-pronged content strategy
• Master long and short form journalism – When do I want a snack vs. a whole
meal? Factoring in longer stories, with frequent blog updates, and “micro”
updates via applications such as Twitter
• Destination sites and distributed content equally important – Focus on where
your audience already lives online (RSS)
• Don’t deliver an “e-edition” of the print product. Maximize the inherent
capabilities of the interactive channel
Explore Emerging Consumer Platforms
Mobilize, Don’t Miniaturize
A page from USAToday’s mobile‐optimzed site, which isn’t as customized as its iPhone
app, but does provide a better experience than most newspapers on mobile devices. It
uses an innovative tap‐to‐expand feature to show mobile‐optimized video commercials.
While the iPhone offers a full‐fidelity experience, it is important to offer WAP and iPhone
versions to ensure maximum coverage.
Explore Emerging Consumer Platforms
New Distribution & Advertising Platform
iPhone Especially Powerful New Ad Platform
Maps: drive traffic to a retail location as users can input their location to launch Google Maps.
Video: direct users to a YouTube video and maximize the video assets you've already created.
iTunes: send users straight from your ad to the iTunes Store where they can preview and buy music, games, or video files.
Click to call: initiate a voice call immediately when they engage with your ad.
Mobile sites: create mobile sites where you can engage their users in multiple ways by offering downloads, galleries, videos.
App Store: drive users to download your app by directing users to Apple's App Store when they engage with your ad.
New York Times’ Mobile Strategy
iPhone First, Android & Kindle Next
Many of the most popular iPhone applications in the news category come from traditional
organizations such as the AP, New York Times, USA Today, and CBS. Meanwhile, London’s
Telegraph launched the first news app for Google’s Android platform. The New York Times
reportedly has over 10,000 readers paying $13.99/month for access to the NYT Kindle edition.
Don’t Miniaturize, Mobilize
Explore Free & Premium Versions
Provide Personal Context
• Provide local content in context to what the reader needs at a given time – mobile
device could find restaurant reviews from the newspaper, along with syndicated
content from user-generated review sites like Yelp to get suggestions on the best
espresso flavor from your friends.
• This could be combined with geo-targeted coupons or location sensitive apps
that tell you where the nearest happy hour or restaurant deal is. Source: New York
Don’t Give it Away for Free
Free “lite” version of smart phone app
• This would serve local news in a traditional macro feed and utilize the same basic
code to serve micro niches, e.g. Chicago Tribune News Reader and Chicago Tribune
• Include robust and easy-to-use features in addition to the typical news feed users
would expect, including content that’s geographically tagged.
• Links to purchase event tickets would appear with related content, prompting easy
Expanded-value version of app (pay model)
• Users would pay a one-time access fee for richer functionality – they would not pay
for content, just the enhanced features. Source: Society of News Design
In Sum …
• Layer in social, mobile and utility that helps readers and advertisers
– Apps that connect me with other likeminded people in my community or
help me to better know my community
– GPS aware devices can find restaurant review of my paper; provide
coupon to local coffee shop or directions to the nearest happy hour
– Early Edition iPhone app; podcasts of important articles
• Optimize mobile solutions for both WAP/Smartphones and the iPhone
• Consider new advertising platform from mobile advertising
• Consider free and premium iPhone versions – what is the killer app people
really need and would pay for?
• Explore other emerging mobile platforms such as the Kindle
Help Me Know Whatever it Takes to Live Here
• If national and int’l news is becoming commoditized, hyper-local is still the
dominion of local newspapers. The key is to offer helper content and
– Help me know whatever it takes to live here
– Help me connect with others in my community
– Help me find things to do
– Help me get to know my community better (Localpedia concept)
– Help me find a job/a used car/a date
Source: Newspaper Next 2.0
• Become community information portals by allowing readers to participate in
news collection and dissemination
• Hyper-local combined with mobile applications can provide content in context
to what the reader needs at a given time. Key is to be the provider of useful tools:
– Taking a pit stop at the coffee shop? Your hand-held device could find
restaurant reviews from the newspaper, along with syndicated content
Source: New York Observer
Branded Hyper-Local Communities
Find Opportunities for Online & Print Integration
“Get Involved. Share your stories, photos, videos and thoughts. Each week we publish excerpts
in the St. Louis Post‐Dispatch”.
Patch & Coovents
Opportunity to Become the Local Site or Application
Each individual site combines hard‐nosed journalism from professional reporters, information from
local government on everything from health department services to volunteer opportunities and
various platforms for user participation with pictures, stories and blogs. Patch’s sites don’t just
dispatch news articles—they are information portals. Source: New York Observer
Gannett’s MomsLikeMe Network
Serve Specific Niches & Create Rich Profile Data
Great opportunity for publishers to create a fair value exchange – the reader gets personalized
news and content with contextual advertising and can interact with a community of likeminds.
Publisher gets deeper customer profile data to better target advertising, upsell and cross‐sell
services and deeper engagement from increased time/visit.
For Your Consideration
New Web Layout Considerations
New Web Layout Considerations
The old web publishing model has grown exponentially by adding more and more
functionality but has lost focus. Usability and relevance decreases once we have a “one
size fits all” view for every visitor/reader.
New online experience powered by rich personalized profile data that accentuates…
– Personalized preferences
– Socially aware features
– Hyper-local or niche news focus
In-Town Edition geared towards social Suburban Edition aimed at busy stay-at-
single life and specific news interests home-mom with neighborhood focus
Both versions optimized for iPhone and smartphones.
Interactive Map can be zoomed and
panned to a specific area of the city that
is of interest.
Icons on the map represent:
–traffic problems (cars)
–news stories (!)
Clicking on any one of the icons would
open an overlay that would provide
basic details and a link to the full story,
or complete details about the sale/event.
The paper may be able to gain
additional ad revenue with each click
that is made on a sale or calendar
Integrating Multiple Information Sources
In-depth reporting from the editorial
department is combined with blog
entries and reader updates (tweets,
SMS messages, etc.) within each
category of interest.
The latest information is shown on the
home page with a link to see all
information about a particular area of
News can be visualized in segmented columns,
telling users when reports were posted in news,
business, sports, entertainment, traffic, etc.
Users can customize the columns by adding or
removing topics of interest.
The most current news items appear at the top of
the columns and other major time markers (e.g., noon,
7 AM) are indicated further down the columns – giving
users a sense of when news items were posted in each
The height of each item gives an indication of how in-
depth the report might be. Very tall stories represent
in-depth analysis, short items are quick items.
Color-coding might also be used to differentiate
articles, blog entries, photos, video, reader updates
(tweets, SMS messages). Users could then choose
which types of items to appear in the visualization
via the filters at the bottom of the page.
Would People Pay for a Great Holistic Experience?
People will not pay for one-off articles displayed online, but would they pay for a
converged product that offers hyper-local news (most relevant to me), social media tools
that help me connect with my peers and mobile options that enhance my on-the-go-on-
Plan integrated reader experiences across the print edition, website and mobile
Don’t simply miniaturize the print edition for the Web, and the Web edition for mobile,
rather think about optimizing the reader’s experience across all three platforms that take
advantage of the inherent capabilities of each platform.
Consider interactions from the reader’s context – they want info while out shopping,
hope to better connect with their peers, need an aggregated set of data that assists in
making an important decision, desire thoughtful analysis on the problems plaguing their
community, want coupons or deals when they’re ready to buy.
Newspapers are uniquely positioned to help.
First Step to a Unique, Personalized Experience
“Subscription management tool” would allow
for personal preferences including
topics/news of interest, frequency of
communications, time-of-day and channel
preference – via the Web, email, & mobile
NYT article skimmer
Consumers Will Pay for Specialized Info They Can’t Find Anywhere Else
Explore free and premium versions with free version supported by advertising and
premium (paid) version offered advertising free.
Subs/micropayments for premium content that serves a niche – not general
content, but personalized financial reporting, hyper-local news, fantasy sports, “insider”
services, mobile apps, customized news, bundled converged product.
Embrace an easy-to-use iTunes method of one-click micropayments (e.g.
Explore new advertising formats: hyper-local deals of the day, mobile advertising,
multimedia or video ads, premium sponsorships.
E-commerce – aggregate data and other important content into fee-based products;
target at various life stages such as going to college or buying a home.
Affiliate marketing commissions – as long as it is delivered in context – in fashion
section, link over to Nordstrom for purchase and accept affiliate fees. In books, link
over to Amazon.com.
Charging for content forces discipline on newspapers: they must produce things that have real
Let the Users Choose How they Pay
With Their Attention or Their Credit Card
A series of full-screen interactive ads allows infrequent consumers to experience the
newspaper's site without paying, whereas the subscription option allows frequent
consumers to access their favorite sites free from advertising/interruption.
One of the big upsides of this model is that it creates an on-going trial-and-usage
program, that has proven itself able to convert readers from 'free' to paid.“
quot;Give them the option to 'pay with their attention' instead of paying with their
credit card. This keeps the content 'free' to the reader, and it provides big benefits to
the advertiser, such as a guaranteed engagement, a full-screen canvas, total-time-
spent metrics, and an historic click-through rate above 4.0%.“
Source: “Ultramercial can save newspapers with proven business model”
Will Local Residents Pay for Aggregated Data?
Local Data Could be Delivered On-Demand
EveryBlock filters an assortment of local news
by location so you can keep track of what’s
happening on your block and in your
“What’s happening in my neighborhood?”
In dense, bustling cities like Chicago, New
York and San Francisco, the number of daily
media reports, government proceedings and
local Internet conversations is staggering.
Every day, a wealth of local information is
created — officials inspect restaurants,
journalists cover fires and Web users post
photographs — but who has time to sort
through all of that?
We make it simple for you to keep track of
news in particular areas. We’re a geographic
filter — a “news feed” for your
neighborhood, or, yes, even your block.
Build a Better Ad Mousetrap
Build an effective advertising model for news content delivered on smart phones such as the iPhone.
Create a better Craigslist for classified advertising. First, make it more aesthetically pleasing.
Could provide premium and free listings in search results as Google does and provide a supercharged
classifieds section with a lot of extras (SF Gate).
Better meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses via deals of the day versus the more
bothersome skyscraper ads.
Provide richer Yellow Pages experience with business profiles, reviews, coupons, video, photos, etc.
Re-imagine the homepage and display advertising approach. Ads better served at the story level
where the ad could be contextually relevant to the editorial. Source: RevenueTwoPointZero).
Contextually Relevant Advertising
How Much Would Polaroid Pay For This Display Ad on the Right?
While you need to be careful separating advertising from editorial, why are not online ads more contextually
relevant to the actual article? Could ads stop interrupting natural consumer behavior and actually become
content we seek out? And a source of affiliate commissions?
Graphics source: RevenueTwoPointZero
Advanced Advertising Formats
Streaming video or overlays that leverage current
consumer interest with video
Interstitial ads offer maximum creative flexibility for
advertisers and new inventory for the paper
Classifieds/DIY video classifieds that create a unique
destination differentiated from Craigslist
Lead generation widgets allowing direct interaction with
advertisers for direct response
– Online exclusive custom guides or packages
(wedding expert, best of, fall festival guide)
– Scrolling carousel ads, paid search, embedded video
player with advertising
– Reverse publish – online to specialized print
– API fees for companies wishing to tap into your
– Monetize the brand via vanity URLs
– Pay to be guest blogger on the homepage
“Experiment a lot, fail fast”
Executive Producer Michelle Nicolosi on SeattlePI.com …
We don't feel like we have to cover everything ourselves. We'll partner for some
content; we won't duplicate what the wire is reporting unless we have something
unique to offer; we'll continue to showcase the great content from our 150 or so
reader bloggers and we'll link offsite to content partners and competitors to create the
best mix of news on our front page.
We just sealed a new partnership with Hearst Magazines that will give us great new
health and wellness and @home content from Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Esquire,
Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics and Redbook.
We've also signed up dozens of prominent local leaders to write columns for us.
We’re going to be creating a tremendous amount of original content. We'll spend
our staff time where we know we have something unique and civically important
to offer. A lot of our staff efforts will be on coverage of government, spending, crime,
and harder news in general. Online traffic patterns and a recent survey of
SeattlePI.com readers tell us that readers are most interested in breaking news
and hard news. Readers are also interested in photo galleries for all kinds of news and
Our strategy moving forward is to experiment a lot and fail fast—that's how we've
been operating the Web site for years, and it's been a very effective formula for growth.