OK, I’m joining the thousands of others that have blogged about this already, but as usual I have a different take on this subject (at least I think I do—haven’t had time to read everyone’s blogs). So, here’s the news flash: print media is losing money due to loss of readership and declining ad revenues. This is due to the rise of the Internet as an alternative medium for news, so the argument goes. What can be done about this problem? Should print media just give up and let the Internet take over? I don’t think so. One thing that print media outlets can do to retain readers and in turn, advertisers, is to embrace the Internet instead of competing with it. Print media need to make themselves more relevant in this ‘Internet Age.’ By connecting to the Internet in a way that none of them are doing (as far as I know anyway—feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), print media can reinvent itself.
Recently I contacted a few of the print media outlets with my idea for a feed from this site to their publications. I told them that I think that readers still want to be able to pick up a paper and read it, but they also want to keep in touch with the Internet as well—there’s only so much time in the day for people that do both; and for those that aren’t on the Internet, it would give them a chance to see what’s going on. Take this site for instance: it has a very interesting legal forum where people interact with lawyers and judges to get free legal information and advice. There have been question and answer sections in papers for as long as I can remember; with topics ranging from romance to legal advice. This site is doing the same thing, it’s just online instead. My thinking was that a newspaper or magazine could feature interesting questions and answers from our forum. It would be great because all those people that don’t have an Internet connection or choose not to, would get to read about things that were going on in cyberspace and wouldn’t be left out. I thought this option would be a great way for print media to stay current and evolve, while giving people the best of both worlds: print media with updates from the Internet (in fact print media could use bar codes so that people could scan articles and find them online with their cell phones).
This sort of thing is what I mean about collaboration vs. competition. If print media took me up on my offer and started printing material from our forum, they would get interesting content and I would get more people on my site. Instead of competing with each other we would be collaborating to create something useful for our customers and for us. I think it could work, but that’s just me. As I said, I recently offered free feeds from this site’s forum to a few of the print media outlets but none have taken me up on the offer. Perhaps I’m a little impatient for a response. My timing is in Internet time, not print media time, so a week or two feels like a year…
Democratizing the law one question at a time