Media moguls: Web can be friend and foe p.9

By: Joe Strupp Mainstream news leaders can foresee the day when a Jimmy Breslin will market his column over the Internet, when a garage sale ad will only be found on a specialized Web site, and when newspaper advertisers will have to purchase a combined print/Web package to properly compete.
Those were among the predictions made during a wide-ranging discussion between some of the mainstream media's heaviest hitters who gathered at the Jupiter Communications Consumer Online Forum in New York last week. During a lively round-table debate on March 2 that included editors and CEOs from Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Brill's Content, and Penguin Books, participants warned newspapers and magazines to guard their livelihoods from Web competition, but also take advantage of the Internet's growing audience.
"I'm not sure we have figured out how to do that very well," said Richard Smith, chairman and editor in chief of Newsweek, one of six panelists who participated. "We have had less success in transmitting what we do to the Web."
Panelists warned that the Internet has and will continue to severely cut into print newspaper readership and advertising. They also stressed that print mediums can recapture much of that loss by competing through their own Web sites that stress good journalism and local reporting.
The key, they said, is to utilize the Web along with the printed product so that each complement each other with cross-advertising, shared information, and dual promotion. But, they stressed, newspapers must be certain to give the newspaper and the Web site their own identities.
Steven Brill, publisher of Brill's Content, stressed that print publications should be careful not to destroy their franchise by giving too much free content on the Web site.
"We never put anything but a tiny minority of the magazine online where you can get it for free," Brill said. "Instead, we use the Web for other services like a daily media report and to promote our brand name."
Newsweek's Smith agreed. "Giving content away is ridiculous," he said. "I would rather have a site that brings the reader in" to the printed product.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http:www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(Copyright: Editor & Publisher March 6, 1999) [Caption]


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