Internet and the news


Last week BusinessNorth (the “business news source of Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin”) ran a couple of articles on the future (and present) of news in a wired world. They talk about how the readers of Duluth News Tribune have gone online. Unfortunately, few newspapers have a created successful business plan for an expanding online presence. 

Some newspapers, including Superior Publishing Corp. (with 11 dailies and weeklies in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin), have started to charge a fee for visitors to access some services. I’ve heard about combining free/fee-based content as a strategy for several years — but so far I haven’t heard of a great deal of success.

But as the BusinessNorth article points out, reporters deserve to be paid for their work, and that’s hard to do when everyone gets their access for free — in a format that doesn’t necessarily support advertising revenue.

SavetheNews just posted some ideas for — funny enough — saving the news. They have 10 Journalism Resolutions for 2010. If you’re at all interested in the topic, it’s a fun article because the suggestions really tie into making the most of the technology — not trying to make the old model work; suggestions include creating an engaged community, cultivating collaboration, making media mobile and more.

What I wonder though is, with the big shift online and the big shift to the 24-hour news cycle, how will we find today’s news tomorrow. David Brauer recently hit on that topic, pointing out an article from the Chaska Herald on archiving the news. Just as newspapers have tightened their belts, so have historical societies.

As a former librarian, I can tell you — those newspaper archives get used. The article points out that the microfiche machines are always booked out. The article refers to using technology to harvest archives — but how do you decide what qualifies as news? Do you include comments? Do you look for local bloggers? Do you look at topical blogs?

No answers today — but lots of questions.