Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Weeklies are changing with the times

The weekly news market is an interesting one in Northern Monmouth. To say it is crowded is to say nothing. I have not heard of a weekly news market more competitive than Northern Monmouth County. In many ways I think this is very good for the readers.

The Greater Media newspapers, the Two River Times and maybe one or two of the garage papers have something to say. Certainly, Courier tries very hard. But the net result on the sales and marketing front is that reps are often tripping over each other in the towns. There are a few ways to look at this situation, but there is an unavoidable fact that more and more people are getting their information and news from the Internet. Where's that going? Beats me.

There has to be something that bridges the "old world" of weeklies to the new one, which is still taking shape in many ways. Technology is playing an ever-increasng role. But embracing technology without the traditional principles of journalism behind that technology puts readers at a disadvantage. Not everything can be lost to what is new. I think it is the responsibility of weeklies to keep changing and adapting though. Inevitably, Mr. Darwin says things that cannot adapt tend to go away. I think he's right.

The change is not a comfortable one. Questions about bloggng, digital recordings, and a host of other new 'gadgetry' are there for a generation of weekly newspaper editors and publishers who, in some cases, started their careers on word processors or even typewriters.

As for the Internet and the ad market: There's a wild card for you. Weekly newspapers are going down a road that is new and I think many folks, this paper included, are trying to make sense of it on the way. Fun? Not at all. But not all change is a day at Six Flags.

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