Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Rex Morrow, Datical, Sematext Blog, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Ruxit Blog

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Why Local Newspapers Require Radical Reinvention to Escape a Very Grim Future

They provide too much of what readers can get anywhere and too little of what readers really want

Local newspapers and business-to-business publications face similar challenges as drastic drops in ad revenue drive equally drastic drops in relevant and compelling content.  But for newspapers, ad revenue declines are exacerbated because the highly profitable classified advertising sections have almost disappeared as readers flock to the Internet.  Moreover, business-to-business magazines that are well positioned still offer uniquely valuable niche content that helps readers succeed. Their readers still count on them. That’s not so true for our local dailies.

I believe that the potential nail in the coffin for local newspapers is the ease with which readers can access national and international content thanks to the Internet.  Conversely, I believe that the potential salvation for local newspapers is to become resoundingly local.

woman reading newspaper in front of windowLocal Newspaper News Monopoly Disappears
In the heyday of local newspapers they enjoyed a virtual advertising monopoly that was reinforced by an effective information monopoly.  That is, in a region like ours, the Naples Daily News was the most obvious source for local, state, national, and even international information.  They did a great job of aggregating content that enabled readers to get a good snapshot of everything they likely wanted to know once they had finished their ritual reading of the daily newspaper. 

Because most Americans were never blessed by a hometown newspaper like the New York Times or the Washington Post, they read the syndicated content from sources like the Associated Press which was bundled into their local daily.  Of course, healthy advertising revenues also supported lots and lots of local news coverage, too.  In addition, as we publishing veterans would point out, in many ways the advertising was just as important to readers as the articles.

As an example of the declining relevance of a local newspaper, the Business & Commentary section of the July 4 issue of the Naples daily news underscores the declining impact and relevance of the local press. 

  • there is no longer a stand-alone business section.  It is combined with a commentary section.
  • the entirety of the business coverage is on a single page. 
  • the lead story on that single page comes from the Associated Press and relates, perhaps ironically, to the reinvention of the Saturday Evening Post. 
  • four news briefs from unnamed wire sources populate a hodgepodge column that includes a story about an oil brokerage firm losing millions to trading
  • the two local stories on the page are openly credited to contributions by outside sources, one of which is a local PR firm. They don’t even pretend not to be press releases.

The net effect of this dearth of local news is to reduce the relevance of the newspaper to local readers.  I did a quick count of the Sunday edition of the paper and found that in the lead section a tiny fraction of the stories dealt with local issues.  Everything else consisted of Associated Press articles on national or state topics. 

This formula of combining local and syndicated content for business and other feature stories worked when there was plenty of local information provided and when readers had only expensive, if any, access to sources like the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the London Times. Today, any reader with Internet access can read not only those fine newspapers but what are now effectively daily online editions of Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, The Economist, and a host of other fine business publications.

The unfortunate bottom line is that we rely much less on our local dailies for essential news and information both because we have excellent online alternatives and because there is less compelling local substance.

A Modest Prescription for Local Newspaper Survival
I am certainly not alone in suggesting that local newspapers will have to reinvent themselves in order to survive. But, I believe that a really radical reinvention is required. 

Local newspapers need to focus like a laser beam on local coverage.  It is the one obvious area where they can outperform any national or international competitor.  It is also an area of abiding interest among the local community.  We all want to know what is going on with local businesses, growth and development, the local and regional economy, government institutions, community organizations, social activities, entertainment, and much more.  Therefore, they need to add, rather than reduce, local content.  Perhaps, they could even jettison all that expensive syndicated content completely thereby reducing printing costs while increasing relevance.

The other area of opportunity resides in well organized citizen journalism.  I don’t believe that this can be done in the tentative way that is typical of so many publications.  For example, The Naples Daily News has opened up virtually all of its articles to commentary in an effort to engage readers.  But, because they are unable to monitor the commentary closely, we wind up with a wild array of commentary from the thoughtful to the lunatic fringe.  This means that even positive articles or reviews about local companies can be poisoned by unsupervised comments.  

This doesn’t  mean that citizen journalism cannot work. Quite the contrary. We are blessed with an intelligent, affluent, and informed local population who could almost certainly generate world-class citizen content with the active and enthusiastic supervision of trained editors.  We are capable of creating local content that would be so relevant and compelling that it would recapture readers—and all those recaptured readers would lure back the advertisers.

In fact, there are early indications that the Naples Daily News may be moving in this direction.  If they do, and if they get it right, I’m confident that our own daily and its newspaper brethren across the country can thrive once more. I certainly wish them well on our collective behalf.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a business application to multiple users (multi-tenancy). Docker, a container technology, was used to ...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...