Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NewspaperProject: A wobbly kickoff

It’s all the fault of us bloggers on “websites that feature negative, gloom-and-doom stories about newspapers.” So, “a group of newspaper executives” has launched NewspaperProject.org, which “will be devoted to insightful articles, commentary and research that provide a more balanced perspective on what newspaper companies can do to survive and thrive in the years ahead.” The “group” also produced print ads and website banners designed for a one-day deployment on Monday, making the point that more people read newspapers than watched the Superbowl.

A “more balanced perspective” presumably means: news and commentary with the optimistic view that the existing newspaper business model has got a future. So the site offers headlines like: “NYT executive editor on why newspapers will survive,” “Time to stand up for newspapers,” “Time for Newspaper Folks to Fight Back,” “The Catalog Factor: Why investors should buy newspaper stocks,” and, believe it or not, David Carr’s “Let’s Invent an i-Tunes for News.” (Yes, that one.) We won’t read about the next newspaper bankruptcy at NewspaperProject.

One of the newspaper industry’s long-standing problems is that it consistently does a terrible job promoting itself. Or rather, it has inconsistently done a terrible job — most of the time it has done no industry-wide promotion at all, and when it has (there have been two or three industry-wide campaigns organized by the NAA in the last decade), it has been done poorly and without followthrough. So far, this is no exception. Let us count the ways this is not the “Got Milk” of daily newspapers:

Read the rest of this post at my blogging home base, the Nieman Journalism Lab.

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