We should let the audience make the content. We should just print it up for them.
Andy bases his premise on an article by Dr. John Hill in the British Journalism Review which states that…
newspapers are struggling because they are a ‘one size fits all’ product in a market that wants a more personal approach. To succeed he says papers need to become more like consumer goods manufacturers:
Ideally this means providing each reader with a range and depth of stories in which they have expressed a personal interest. In short the ‘me’ newspaper.
There’s a lot more there…and you should read his blog to get it all. But it fits in with an idea I had…a video news site with varying depths of the same story. The quickie for folks just dropping in…and several other version, each more in depth or with varying focuses for different audiences. A site that would allow the reader to set up preferences and skim for content in areas of interest. It would also closely watch viewer comments and try to respond to them with content they seem to want. Now this will require the same balancing act that all news operations do daily – giving the audience what they want as well as the news they need (and honestly should read if they are responsible citizens). But the truth is…to draw that audience, you need a hook. Bait. Something to attract them.
It is becoming more and more apparent that general interest news sites face challenges trying to gain and keep their audience…niche sites that appeal to a focused audience seem to do better. The trick is to find a way to have a general news site that draws that niche audience or at least allows the niche audience to tailor a general site to fit their needs.