Saturday, March 14, 2009
Bye, Bye Miss American Newspaper?
I just wrote a lengthy comment to a post by Marjorie at Interior Designs and decided to turn it into a post of my own, since it's a subject that is near and dear to my heart and one that I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I used to proudly point out that Americans read three times as many newspapers as the French. I'm not sure this statistic is up to date, and even rather doubt it considering the number of newspapers that are on the verge of extinction in the USA.
And apparently, as Marjorie points out, many Americans don't really care.
Well, I care deeply about the local paper that I grew up with, but also feel that the US newspaper industry has been ridiculously dinosaur-like and, well, out and out stupid (dinosaurs did have small brains, right?) in their harnessing of the Internet.
For example, The Olympian, which is a long-standing and high-quality daily, moved years ago -- like so many other papers -- from a "key news" Internet approach to an "all the news" site.
I remember thinking at the time that this was not a good idea. Sure, I was happy to be able to read everything from local sports news to obituaries from my European home, but somehow it didn't feel right. And it doesn't seem to be working out, either.
So, now, I've been reading The Olympian's content online for free for years and all that time I would have been perfectly willing to pay to do so. I'm sure many Olympians living outside of the area would have happily done the same, and those online subscriptions would have added up to a tidy sum by now.
What were they thinking? Who is going to pay for something that they can get for free?
And what a financial boon it would have been to tap into all of the potential Olympian readers all over the world -- from the get-go.