Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Questions for readers, part 2

Lots of good responses, here and on Facebook, to yesterday's questions about how to make the paper better. Now for the natural follow-up:

How do we pay for it? Would you pay more for the printed paper? Are there things we do (or could do) that you might pay for online? How about other things that might be natural offshoots of what we already do?

Again, all ideas welcome...

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bake sale?

Anonymous said...

affirmative action bake sale?

Anonymous said...

Cigarette and sex ads, like the old days.

Anonymous said...

Cut the editorial page out? Get rid of all opinion writers?

Jumper said...

Time Warner cable internet is getting all MY money. (I still get the paper.) Hit them up for cash, like USA Network did when THEY started their new business model.

Grocery stores. Every tabloid is sold right at the checkout, but the Observer is always somewhere else in the store. Partner with the major grocery chains - go over the managers' heads - Observers GOTTA be in the checkout lane. Big promo: "Harris Teeter saves newspaper biz, heroes."

Use public domain crosswords and sudokus, put 'em in the ad and coupon sections. Get more eyes on the ads that way. Even people who used to not see the ads.

billhiltonjr said...

I write good, and for cheap. :-)

Anonymous said...

for starters print the news in an unbiased manner. all papers and news channels are biased.

it would be refreshing to see a paper do this...but it won't happen. the absence of bias and a restoration of true journalism would do amazing things. i don't watch any news or buy any papers due to this.

i like ideas of more puzzles, crosswords etc. less lead stories of johnson and johnson heiresses, tiger woods, etc. stop promoting united way etc. just do honest straight forward news.

M said...

It seems like The Observer has the talent to fulfill the requests in the previous column ... readers seem to be asking you to do it better and more creatively. Also continue to use/hire more freelancers for all content and all media. I would *not* pay for any content online. I *would* buy the publication in print if I could get a Sunday, Wednesday, Friday package delivered. And if it was unique content and the paper didn't look like a thin, sad circular mostly full of ads. I also think you could largely go without the editorial section. Don't ditch the editorial tradition of newspapers, but put most of your opinion content online. If The Observer is generous with special sections/inserts, and they are interesting, creative and actual content vs. advertising specials/re-writes, I might subscribe again. The unique special section advertising could help pay for those and other initiatives. Promote the special sections online (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.), and increased single-copy sales could help boost the ability to implement changes. I would be susceptible to even a marginal discount for subscribing to a longer period of time (6 months vs. 3; a year vs. 6 months). It always made me angry that there wasn't even a dollar or two off for dishing out that much more money in advance.

Brian said...

I would have to see the Observer's financials to know how I really feel about "free" web news but, if the paper could prove that more revenue is necessary to keep the paper and web content available I guess I would pay for it rather than lose it. I have no use for the printed paper any longer but visit the website several times a day to look for news updates or just catch up on what is going on in the area. If you charged me the cost of the printed news per day I would stop coming but I think something like $3/month would work for me. Challenge for the paper is identifying that "right price" that a majority of people using this site might consider a fair trade for the convenience. I also agree with the comment about newspapers at the grocery stores. "out of sight, out of mind"

Anonymous said...

It may be an idea to have another newspaper like the old closed down Charlotte News that came out in the afternoons when the Observer was in the morning.

The Observer could remain a progressive liberal media outlet while the 2nd new media outlet could be more conservative oriented.

As a growing city always divides into liberal and conservative media and as we see in DC there is the Post and Times to cover all sides and make everyone happy. NYC has the Times and Wall St J.

Right now trying to juggle both ideologies in the same fishwrap is difficult.

McClatchey can reopen the Charlotte News as a conservative media outlet and keep the Observer status quo. Its prob the only way this thing can make it. Bigger exposure. More money. Cover both sides of isle. Nobody can bitch.

Anonymous said...

First, get McClatchey to sell the paper, perhaps to a new investment group in Charlotte. Second, focus on news and editorial content that matters to the seventeen county CharMeck extravaplex. If you want a cash cow, have a very skilled team digest international news into a single crisp sheet-- you can't get decent international news in any American paper right now, and a good thorough roundup would be something you could sell to other regionally-focused papers.

And stop shrinking the comics!

(I always enjoyed your stuff when I lived in Charlotte. The beard suits you. Good luck!)

Bill Burkholder said...

If you have a closed subscription site and you transfer everyone's subscription to the web - make it mandatory and quit killing trees - you could keep charging highway robbery without the expense of paper, ink, printing labor, delivery, etc.

Without the costs of atoms, you could publish with bits and put the money into content improvement.

I can't wait for Apple to announce their tablet computer on January 27th. If it is as anticipated, it will revolutionize TV, movies, magazines, books, news"papers", journals, and lots of other things as well. Catch that wave!

picnic said...

Well, the Apple Ipad has arrived--and I'm not sure about revolutionizing things. Its not for me yet.

I would pay for online Observer but for now prefer the printed page. However, I hate Monday's edition, think the "Neighbor" section is largely worthless (I live in HIckory area), and often have read almost all the national and international news the night before online--so look to the CO for more regional/statewide news/information, entertainment info, etc.