Newspapers Oughta Sell Their New Expertise

To adapt to the Internet, newspapers have been forced to evolve, some have become experts in ‘new media.’ Why not sell this expertise to ad clients as a package to get them online in a fast, convenient way. Both parties would benefit.

heads up: this is a pretty old post, it may be outdated.



Inspired by a small point made by Jeff Jarvis, I left a comment on his blog saying that I thought he had struck gold — a way to supplement ad revenue at local newspapers.

To adapt to the Internet, newspapers have been forced to evolve, some have become experts in ‘new media.’ A term that I hate because, really what is ‘new media?’ When does it stop becoming new, and what will we call the media that comes after it? Is everything just eternally ‘new media?’

The current definition means that a ‘new media’ expert is up-to-speed on blogging, linking, short form video, Facebook, Twitter, other social networks, etc… All of this expertise is a real commodity that many businesses would love to tap into.

One example

Imagine a local clothing boutique that has a website that was designed by the owner’s godson. It likely isn’t updated often, hasn't seen a redesign since 2001, and is primarily used by people trying to find the phone number of the store.

A ‘new media’ sales rep, could help transition them onto an easy to use CMS, set them up with a semi-customized design, setup a basic ecommerce site, and provide training on how to leverage facebook and adsense to get the word out. Think of this like a top-tier advertising package that could be sold at a premium.

The potential client base is exactly the same as any newspapers current advertisers. Actually, ad reps should already know which clients could benefit from such a service, if they’ve been paying attention.

Everyone benefits in this scenario. Newspapers get to build a closer relationship with a client, they can get paid for an expertise they are already cultivating, and they can get local advertisers online — allowing them to sell these new sites online ads on the neworg’s own site. The local business gets new customers through an online effort, and doesn’t have to struggle through all of the training and necessity of staying up-to-date that is necessitated in the rapidly changing tech world.

**Update: **Just to prove that I’m not crazy, Steve Outing mentioned a similar idea on the new Journalism Now Podcast.