5 Ways Newspapers can Avoid Extinction


A Mashable article by Woody Lewis, “Newspapers: 5 Ways to Avoid Extinction,” provides some interesting and helpful advice for newspapers desperately attempting to save themselves.  And Lewis has some really strong ideas.  One piece of advice he gives that I find particularly interesting is his suggestion that newspapers may want to seek out strong technology partners at universities, where students are being trained to use the web.  

His five gems of advice are:

  • Embrace chaos

Chaos can be traumatic for the unimaginative, but abandoning the center of gravity can be a lifesaver. Believing in the sanctity of newspapers will not improve their chances. Random events, driven by technology and social use patterns, will shape the future.

  • Devise a new strategy that emphasizes alliances and collaboration

Whether the affiliate organization is for-profit or non-profit, when a newspaper reaches out to another entity, it practices a corporate form of social media.

  • Find a strong technology partner

Most newspapers don’t have the in-house resources to plan and manage such projects, and they certainly don’t have much of a budget for outside consultants.  One source of talent might be the universities, where journalism programs have already embraced the next wave of technologies. Tomorrow’s reporters have no stake in eulogizing a bygone era – they’re too busy training for the future.

  • Create a Twitter taxonomy

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but for the moment, establishing a hierarchy of Twitter accounts comes close.

  • Explore micropublishing solutions

Projects like The Printed Blog, which offers aggregations of selected blog content in downloadble PDF and limited distribution print formats, might not be the wave of the future, but they’re examples of the hybrid approach that might work in local markets.

Be sure to check out the full article.


2 responses to “5 Ways Newspapers can Avoid Extinction

  1. I scanned this article on my iPhone last night (thanks to the new Mashable app). The people who need to read and embrace such insights refuse to change. Those who get it are effectively marginalized and the audience is still consuming what they want, when they want, where they want and how they want. It is really a perplexing problem.

    Traditional does not like to collaborate. They prefer to compete and control. This strategy is putting many companies out of business. Open source is the way we’re heading whether we like it or not.

  2. I love the first tip that urges us to “embrace chaos” – because I think that’s the key to surviving as a journalist these days. This business is no longer black and white, if it ever was. It’s time for journalists to accept that the media is ever-changing, and in turn they must be ever-changing.

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