Blog Post

Four Controversial Ways To Save Regional Papers Online

We know regional newspaper publishers, making about a third less money than last year, are in trouble. But the stones under which Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) is suggesting they look for new money show just how convinced they are that conventional news content can any longer be a money-spinner by itself

Here’s what regional editorial director Neil Benson told Monday’s Society of Editors conference (via Press Gazette and J.co.uk)…

Become a PR agency: “People who work in the regional press know what it takes to hit the spot in terms of press releases. So why shouldn’t all regional publishers think about launching arms-length PR agencies or a full-service agency?”

Do marketing for clients: ‘Benson suggested that regional newspaper publishers could also use their skills in search engine optimisation to help commercial paying clients,” PG reports, adding that Benson says papers should “work with advertisers on campaigns which include creating dedicated websites and including editorial content”. Trinity already made £3 million last year from advertorial supplements, he said.

Turn government in to a customer: Trinity’s north-east Journal is making six-figure annual revenue from helping Northumberland County Council communicate via a hyperlocal website. Benson wants to follow Bob Geldof’s Ten Alps, which is doig a good job of convincing local councils to cough up for regional web TV sites.

Make video for advertisers: “Benson also suggested that local papers could hire out their video-making expertise to local businesses and said that they need to come up with technology to make it easier to sell photos online.” Again, straight out of Ten Alps’ playbook.

3 Responses to “Four Controversial Ways To Save Regional Papers Online”

  1. Dana Todd

    @mike seery – The article is regarding how to make money, not how to build content and community. All the hand-wringing in the world over the death of "real journalism" isn't going to help unless papers get serious about being *businesses*. They've ignored or merely dabbled in: search marketing, social media, blogging, demand-led story generation (a la Demand Media), custom content, video, coupons, mobile, etc. Let the editorial department continue to focus on high quality content, yes, but considering how far behind in innovation traditional media is compared to pure-play digital news, they really need to be spending 10x in time and resources to make up the gap and to find their own unique types of business offerings that can't be commoditized as easily as classifieds and banner ads.