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RIP, the Daily Paper: As Headlines Document the Death of Print Media, How Will Quad Cities Newspapers Survive? - Page 4 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 06:00
The Trouble with Cost-Cutting

What all this cutting and reorganization ignores, though, is that newspapers haven't figured out how to generate equivalent revenue from online readers.

The Quad-City Times has Quadsville, and the Argus/Dispatch in February launched QC Capture, and both try to capitalize on the popularity of social-networking and community-building tools.

There are two problems, though.

First, newspapers (and institutions in general) are not good at anticipating and adopting trends. "The newspaper business has always been sort of glacial in terms of change, and that doesn't cut it anymore," Taylor said. "We're constantly trying to innovate on that Web site. ... Do we know how to capitalize that? No, but I can tell you that we're working on it."

Let's say that newspapers figure that out, though. It still doesn't change the basic economics that online ads don't command the same per-reader rates as print publications.

And it's not a small gap. Taylor described it as "pennies on the Web per reader versus the dollars per reader that you have on a regular basis on the print product. That's going to remain the challenge."