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Newspapers In The Digital Age

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Marietta Daily Journal 2-3-16

Copyright 2016 – Marietta Daily Journal 2-3-16

The column above comes from my local newspaper, The Marietta Daily Journal.  I am a subscriber and have had issues in the past with how they price their product.  You can read about that by clicking here.  While I have some problems with the games they play with pricing subscriptions, Mr. Murphy is correct when he states that the local newspaper is alive and well.  I am happy to see that he understands what value he can deliver – good local reporting that you can get nowhere else.

I have said for several years now that the local newspaper should not bother with any national or international news. We can get that from thousands of places as Mr. Murphy states in his column.  If any space is devoted to national or international news; please present it with a more thorough analysis.   Provide the kind of analysis that we can’t get on the evening news that only presents the headline and not much else.  Invest the time to scouring the local coverage area – and go deep into details that the reader needs to know.  Be the eyes and ears at the commissioner meeting or at the school board meeting.  Oh, and by the way, do it without revealing a bias.

What can we learn from this column about the business side of the newspaper? One thing we can learn is to meet criticism head on with good reasons for your actions.  The strongest point he makes is to be willing to stand behind his product and let customers walk if they don’t think there is value.  The fact is the Marietta Daily Journal is the only daily newspaper in Cobb County so if you want the local news they are the only game in town.  Another thing is to not be satisfied with the status quo.  They have a monopoly but he states in the article they are experimenting and improving their online content and are going to roll out a new iteration in March.   This does not sound like satisfaction with the status quo to me.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and the internet generation needs to learn the lesson just like “deadheads” back in 1891. Apparently “deadheads” were people who read the paper by borrowing it from a neighbor.  I guess even back in 1891 people were looking for a free lunch.  Mr. Murphy uses the same logic as they did back in 1891.  If it is good enough to want to borrow/read it online you should “be a man” and pay for it.

Believe in what your business offers and be ready to defend it on the value it provides. Have a great week.

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