I saw an interesting tidbit on Forbes.com this morning related to our discussion of newspapers, hyperlocalization of news, and the internet.  Mark Whitaker, "editor of Newsweek from 1998 to 2006 and now vice president and editor-in-chief of new ventures for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI)", did a short interview with Forbes.com and gave some insight as to ways news outlets can battle declining circulation and take advantage of increased interest in online news.  Whitaker identifies three specific items that I think sum up the task at hand for online newspapers and magazines:

  • "Break news no one else is breaking".  For local papers, I interpret this to mean focusing on local content.  For national outlets, find a niche and stick to it.  General interest publications are going by the wayside—newspapers need to find a unique angle in order to succeed.
  • "Have writers who have a distinctive point of view that you're not necessarily going to see someplace else."  In layman's terms, let your reporters BLOG freely!  Don't limit them with paranoid rules and regulations .
  • The third item "has to do with user experience. Traditionally, one of the things that people have loved about their favorite magazine was the way it looked and felt. What everybody has to do online is try to create a
    user experience that makes people fall in love with their site." 
    This is self-explanatory.  Most newspapers and magazines need to redesign their websites to offer modern functionality and better overall experiences that will make readers want to come back time and time again.

It was great to hear from someone in the media business that actually "gets it".  I thought this three-pronged approach was refreshing because it condensed a pool of complicated ideas into three digestible goals for newspapers.