Asking the wrong questions

Baltimore Sun: Can newspapers reverse their decline?:

How did newspapers react?

They brought in consultants,
armed with MBAs and experience in other troubled industries, to
evaluate their operations. Recommendations were simple: Cut staff,
cooperate more closely with advertisers (i.e., create "partnerships")
and offer the public more of what it wants to read – not what
experienced editors believe the public needs to read.

Demographic studies are used to identify a core readership and to serve
it by providing more "news you can use." This has meant an increase in
medical, travel and lifestyle news, often at the cost of international
reporting and investigative pieces.


Who are these strange critters called readers? How do we know what they want?

They’re actually a lot of individuals. Unpredictble muggins. How do you appeal to them as individuals?

In other words, how do you converse?

We’re working on that. But the answer isn’t in print.

Linkprops to A Little Pollyanna.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.