Jul 21st, 2008 @ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

14 ways newspapers can make more money

I’m not going to waste your time over the specifics, but if you have had half an eye on the media industry lately, you can see the debate heating up over what is the next step. No matter what the verdict is about the role the Web will have, journalists are often are avoiding the elephant in the room. How are we going to pay for all of this?

I spent two or three days writing down every idea I came across/thought of.  Feel free to add, debate, or mock the following:

  1. QR codes
  2. Sell some T-shirts
  3. Update your honor boxes
  4. Update the way you advertise and display your videos (I’d follow Revision 3)
  5. Don’t buy ridiculously expensive cameras for tiny Internet video (Mindy’s thoughts).
  6. If you are in a smaller market, or one caught in between two big cities, start a nightly newscast.
  7. Automate your shovelware publishing to the Web using XML and InDesign.  Free up the Web people to produce content instead of managing it.
  8. Start a community driven niche site
  9. Keep costs down by giving every writer a Linux box for writing instead of bloated PCs with tons of money spent on licenses.
  10. Don’t be afraid of new ad placements in the print version.
  11. Serve content to location aware GPS mobile devices, then serve location based ads.  Don’t think it can be done?  Philly does.
  12. Metrics.  The internet allows for most detailed info about readers that a newspaper could have.  Use this info effectively to not waste money on projects and multimedia features that no one will watch.
  13. Understand that some of the old topics newspapers covered are better left to niche magazines and Web sites.
  14. I’m pretty sure blaming people wont pay the bills.

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