By: Heidi Kulicke
Tyree Harris, 21, junior at the University of Oregon in Eugene
An award-winning column writer, Harris is the opinion editor and recently elected editor-in-chief at the University of Oregon’s student-run newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald. Harris hopes to eventually have an established career as either a magazine writer or a features reporter for a major publication.
A:The introduction of the Internet and classified-robbing websites such as Craigslist have completely changed the way the news industry functions financially. Though various professionals argue that we are in a journalistic dark age, I am optimistic enough to believe that we are in a state of economic adjustment, rather than an unrecoverable state of comatose.
Making a newspaper profitable is in many ways a lot like making any other product profitable: It starts with understanding what your target market wants and delivering it in a fashion that is both timely and unique. Of course, if it were that simple, everything would be wonderful, and we would all live happily ever after — but it’s not.
Bluntly put, if your paper isn’t using the Internet to establish its brand’s image as a news organization, you’re way behind the pack.
The paper I write for, the Oregon Daily Emerald, has learned that the hard way. In past years, our online presence has consisted of running the same contenton the Web that we run in the paper. Our Internet experience was identical to our print experience. We didn’t challenge ourselves to create a unique online image or to expand our branding to the World Wide Web. While it seems like this only impacted us content-wise, it hurt us just as much fiscally because we were missing out on an opportunity to advertise ourselves. Ultimately, we weren’t satisfying our target market’s desire for exclusive online content.
We’ve learned we need to have a stronger online presence than ever; if news organizations are going to thrive, they need to make their online experience an innovative and refreshing one.
Michael Klingensmith, 57, publisher and CEO, Star Tribune Media
Klingensmith is a longtime media veteran, spending most of his more than 30-year career in media publishing with Time Inc. in New York City. He joined the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune in January 2010 as publisher and CEO.
A: Changes driven by advances in technology and evolving consumer behavior will make the next five years a time of great transition. The current challenges to traditional newspaper revenue streams and emerging opportunities in devices and advertising are just a rough outline of the massive change to come.
In a time of great change, innovators who experiment and invest will be rewarded. Revenue streams must be enhanced and evaluated against the shifting preferences of both consumers and advertisers. The strongest media companies will bring forth new offerings that seek to pair audience and advertiser in new ways.
On the consumer side of the equation the shift to mobile, tablet, and Web requires new product offerings and presents an opportunity to capture more direct circulation revenue. Strong products that create habitual use can be as powerful as existing print subscriptions. Capturing more direct revenue from consumers is critical to success in the next five years.
Advertiser goals will be consistent during this period of change; they seek to build great brands, create awareness for new products and services, and draw consumers to their websites or stores. Successful sales teams will match these goals to the changing consumer behavior and offer products that move the marketing needle. They must be solution oriented, and they will require new digital products to pair with existing traditional solutions.
While traditional newspaper revenue streams may continue to be challenged they are by no means a lost cause. I believe that the future is a mix of digital and print offerings for both consumers and advertisers. The smartest competitors are investing in these products today to have healthy growing revenue in five years.