Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Journalism Vocabulary Words: Newsprint Trims and Access Points

My local newspaper has reduced its value proposition by cutting content and pages. Local managers of this McClatchy asset use the term “newsprint trims” to label the streamlining process. In an email conversation with the Executive Editor I leaned that another benefit from such trimming is that readers and I will have additional “entry points” to the paper, despite the fewer pages.

So I am paying the same $160 a year for a newspaper subscription that provides me with access to a newsletter in lieu of a newspaper. One would think that declining circulation would motivate a newspaper to enhance rather than reduce the value proposition. The Orlando Sentinel appears to embrace this strategy despite the fact that its new owner Sam Zell seems intent on economizing; see http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121417869098295551.html.

Despite the new nonsense words here are two key realities for newspapers in this convergent environment: 1) The newspaper business faces great challenges that have reduced double digit margins to single digit margins. I do not see Sam Zell buying any business if he did not think he could generate above average returns; and 2) Local papers generate higher margins than most urban papers.

I do not see newspapers fully exploiting convergence by offering less.

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