Thursday, April 12, 2012

A nice newspaper success story -- using new media

We don't really need more proof that content drives online viewership, but it's instructive to examine what the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal World is doing. According to a story on NetNewsCheck, this small newspaper of 16,000 subscribers has approximately 477,000 monthly unique viewers because it has worked hard to bring them in with unique content.

Most, naturally, come for its strong sports site, along with a strong health site. But some of the content shows how far down a media outlet can drill. For example, the site boasts individual baseball cards for every area Little League player. It's the kind of content that draws readers -- names make news -- that a local newspaper can provide without much fear of competition.

As the NetNewsCheck story says, a quote from longtime editor and member of the family that owns the paper, Dolph Simmons Jr., in 2005 is just as applicable today: “Information is our business and we’re trying to provide information, in one form or another, however the consumer wants it and wherever the consumer wants it.”

Information equals content, and content equals information. It's an idea that works.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some thoughts on Keith Olbermann

There's not been much news over the weekend in the battle -- now legal -- between Keith Olbermann and Current TV, the latest media company to fire the controversial personality.

Over the years, I've enjoyed watching Olbermann who sort of epitomised the current cable TV host -- engaging, outspoken, often insightful, and always opinionated.

At the same time, I've realized, mostly from good reporting, that he could be extremely difficult to work with. He also was, at times, pompous, vain, guilty of overreach, and seemingly unfair. All words that apply equally to many in both old and new media.

But, above all, to the viewer, he was generally entertaining -- I'd make that always entertaining except for his "special comments," which often were exaggerated to the extent of being boring.

Still, there was a lot said over the weekend about the current battle, and it helps put Olbermann into perspective. One of the best was Sharon Waxman's analysis here, which called him an "arrested adolescent." New York Times is here.

Even though I never could find Current TV so I haven't watched his current iteration, I'll miss Olbermann.