Sturm Offers Advice To Publishers p. 12

By: JOHN CONSOLI N EWSPAPER ASSOCIATION OF America president and CEO John Sturm told newspaper publishers this week that there are three critical areas on which they must focus.
"We must strengthen the connection with our readers. We must fine tune our operations. And we must continue to point ourselves toward the future," Sturm said in his keynote remarks at the annual NAA convention in New York City.
"The community connection is strong, but it is not unbreakable," he warned. "If we can't find a way to interest younger readers in print . . . if we take too much comfort in being the only game in town . . . if we look at editorial as something to hold the ads together . . . or if we expect advertisers to line up to throw money at us . . . we're going to come home one day to find someone else living in our house."
Sturm also warned publishers not to "get so enamored with the future that we neglect the present."
The present, he said, "demands that we make some adjustments . . . fine tune our basic operations to get more out of the here and now. Fix our back shops . . . our control centers ? to give our advertising customers better, more accurate and reliable service."
Other things newspapers need to do today, Sturm said, include "targeting by distribution zones and ZIP codes for a more precise product for advertisers" and "digitizing ad transmission with EDI [electronic data interchange] to give those same customers more speed and flexibility."
As for the future, Sturm said he disagrees with those who would argue that the online era "will push the information trade lanes away from newspapers."
"It's really going to push the world toward newspapers," he said, "because as information options expand and our competitors become increasingly fractionalized, we still have several distinct advantages."
Among those advantages, Sturm said, are that "newspapers contain more local information than any other medium; contain information on demand; offer daily insight and perspective on events; are low in cost and are portable; and offer credibility in a mass medium."
The "culture of first choices," he said, "is certainly going to include new kinds of links with our audiences. We simply have to be there in the future."
? ("The community connection is strong, but it is not unbreakable.") [Caption]
?(-John Sturm, president and CEO, Newspaper Association of America) [Photo & Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here