By: Brian Steffins
The new Editor & Publisher revisited
The newspaper industry is wrestling with the question: How much information do we put on free Web sites before it endangers the circulation of our print publications?
That’s our dilemma here at E&P. How do we create a timely, lively Editor & Publisher Interactive (http://www.mediainfo.com) without making our 115-year-old magazine obsolete? As I outlined in my last column, we took the middle ground by providing daily updates on our Web site, with complete stories in Editor & Publisher magazine. It is a middle ground that meets our readers’ need for fast industry information, but doesn’t overtax our reporting staff, nor erode our print circulation.
Many of you like our new, timely approach. You get the timeliest news, but without complete duplication in the magazine.
So I was surprised, even dismayed, to receive a few e-mail messages and read a few postings on a popular journalism listserv that accused us of relegating our Web site to a cheap marketing tool for the print magazine, and complaining because we are not republishing the print magazine on our Web site.
Says one: “I find it dismaying that an organization that calls itself relevant to the news media would relegate its Internet publication to a marketing tool for its print edition, with a few ‘breaking’ news items thrown in to make it appear fresh. ? If your organization cannot provide more timely, meaningful content online, then I don’t see much reason to look for such information in a printed edition, either.”
And another: “[E&P] Interactive exists to sell pulp subscriptions.”
Our Web site was reorganized to put the news of the day on our front or home page ? not a click or two away. Since news is our business, we decided to wear it on our sleeve, not in our pocket. We’ve nearly tripled the amount of news we’re putting there every day, updating throughout the day.
Add the most comprehensive set of links to online news sites (more than 11,000 on our MediaLinks page); a new vendor database; a new, easier-to-use archive retrieval system from Infonautics; and the best classifieds package in the industry ? and you now have the best news industry Web site at your fingertips.
We believe we significantly improved both products, that we increased the value of both products ? and did NOT do so at the expense of either one. The magazine has a livelier presentation that we believe is easier to read; a new, substantive cover story each week; more news upfront; later deadlines for more timely news; increased emphasis on advertising/marketing/promotion; more thorough coverage of the business of our business; and a renewed commitment to accuracy.
Yes, pulp subscriptions are important. Although our Web advertising is healthy and growing, it doesn’t support the news staff that brings you the industry’s only independent daily reports. We all know that the only thing the Web culture subscribes to is the theory that news and information should be free.
As I said in my last column, to get the depth and breadth of all that’s happening in our newspaper and online news industries, you should subscribe to Editor & Publisher magazine AND bookmark http://www.mediainfo.com. And all this doesn’t cost you a dime more than you were paying six months ago ? a relative bargain at $75 a year.
We think it’s a win-win for our readers. Let us know if we’re helping you meet your information needs.
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?(copyright: Editor & Publisher June 19, 1999) [Caption]