. . . Wednesday November 24, 2004

How Newspapers Can Save Themselves

There is no denying the cold, hard fact that young people are abandoning newspapers (even the top brands) at a significant clip.

So what should newspapers do?

Revamp their websites. Newspaper websites should include their own branded material. But they must also allow consumers to customize the news and use RSS feeds to build their own version of the daily news. Yes, that will mean readers leaving your site. But it also means that they might keep coming there in the first place. We’re going in the direction of personalized news. There is no turning back.

Newspapers need to decide if they want to try to establish a foothold as the start-up page for that personalized news. They missed the boat as eBay and online classifieds ate into one of their main revenue streams. And most of them are missing the boat on RSS as well.

It shouldn’t be such a foreign idea. Newspapers have long been selling wire services like Reuters and AP under their brands. Why not sell links to all of your news the same way?

The train is coming. You’re either onboard or you’re on the tracks.

Concentration is important!