Friday, September 08, 2006

the newspaper's struggle

One of my interviewees asked me for ten copies of our paper carrying an article on him. (Of course he promised to pay) My first response is like this: "what, ten copies, I don't even have one for me. " Then I calmed down to understand his feelings that he may love the story so much. So I called around to my colleagues in Hong Kong but seems no one had the clue. Their responses are: "Hi, come on, it is an electronic age, and we could send him the electronic copies".

Hmmm, speaking frankly, it is weird for newspaper to say "electronic age", or at least not in a right position. I know most of the newspaper still make money from selling paper copies as well as the advertisements carring on those copies. Then why it is hard to do print print copies specificly, or seems everyone is reluctant to?

As I wrote months ago, newspapers are struggling between the print copies, the main source of profit, and the online copies, the emerging source of profit but still small. How to balance the production in the two area is a hard question for every CEOs managing newspaper. I even read an article from the print copy of Asian Wall Street Journal which is trying hard to attract readers to its charged websites. It is a breaking story, but in the second paragraph( the paragraph in the journalism is a complimentary part to explain the lead in the first one), it says things like this "WSJ. com is the first to report it yesterday". So what? So people should read stuffs on as the print one doesn't carry breaking news.

It is hard. To be fair, WSJ did a good story on how the website of MTV, the most popular music video television station amoung teenagers, failed to attract the same group of audience. Those youths, aged between 15 to 25, preferred more "cool" place such as

I would say it is the problems among all traditional media. They use the traditional thinking to set up an emerging media, which is wrong. They have the expertise, but it doesn't mean they will succeed in the new world. Getting rid of the old, and sometimes arrogant thinking, they could listen clearly on what the users think.

Speaking all things above, I feel a bit of weird, too, as myself is a newspaperer. Anyway, to be fair again, I found something for the interviewee who asked for ten copies of our paper. We do have a website for reprint, though you need to submit a lot of information such as the reason you reprint it. There is still a solution, though I would think it will be exciting if you could order online and then print as many copies as you want.

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