Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Community: one of the big reasons newspapers are at death's door (but not the only reason)

I wish Judy Sims would write more on her blog, I really like what she writes and her perspective on the newspaper industry.

Sims is a digital media consultant and former veep of digital media for the Toronto Star Media Group. Her blog is here and is worth checking out.

In her latest post Sims says there are two reasons why newspapers are failing: a failure to recognize the necessity of "Community", and a failure to focus on ROI.

I personally believe there is a laundry list of reasons, but these two would definitely be on my list. Anyone who has worked with me will report that I harp on "community".

Sims writes: "If a newspaper’s job is to reflect, affect and connect the community it serves, trust and relevance are what get the job done. It’s amazing to me how at this time, with more tools available than ever to fulfill these objectives, newspapers are turning away from what made them great brands in the first place. By refusing to listen to and engage their readers by ignoring social media, limiting comments and erecting pay walls, they are destroying trust and hastening their irrelevance."

Sims perspective is very digital. I think the problem goes deeper and effects all areas of the newspaper business including print -- from the loss of local and classified advertising (the classified section itself is a form of community -- but what would you expect a former CAM to say?), to the decrease in local interest special sections -- newspapers have lost touch with their readers both in print and online.

In her next post Sims will be talking about ROI. I'll be there.