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Chief journalist: me?

Are printed news worth the money?

Do you know that feeling of information overflow and being overwhelmed by your newspaper? (At least those of you who still read printed news.) Often I have a hard time reading through the whole newspaper, firstly because of time issues and secondly because there are articles which do not draw my particular interest.

Would you go that far and cancel the subscription for the reason that your money might not be worth it? Some people might. As discussed in previous blogs by Mattias and me, the newspaper industry has been facing a great threat by the social media and the development of Web 2.0.

Design it yourself!

In 2009, the founders of niiu saw a niche in that recession and launched following project. The first German personalized newspaper. Readers were able to act as publisher and to create their own individual newspaper by

  • choosing from different sources: printed and online news, blogs, rss feeds
  • final result: printed personal newspaper every morning
  • for less then 2 € per print.

Sounds simple and like a great idea – doesn’t it? Their goal was to attain 5000 readers in 6 months. But then, the surprising end: this target was never reached. In January 2011 niuu was put on hold.

Failure by the one – try by the other

Why is that so? Even the Schweizerische Post launched a similar project called MyNewspaper a couple of months ago. Based on the same principle as the Berlin project niiu. The only difference: consumers are also able to purchase their newspaper as an online version – worldwide. Critics argue about the high price and the scarcity of resources. A one year subscription costs up to 1,070 € whilst the online version values approximately one third of that price. Additionally the paper is delivered with the usual mail and therefore lands later on the breakfast table as other newspapers. On top, many traditional newspapers as the Neue Züricher Zeitung disapprove of a cooperation with MyNewspaper fearing a degradation of their own brand.

Déjà vu?

Does the Suisse version  have the chance to be more successful then the predecessor from Berlin or is this just another medium facing failure? MyNewspaper plans the test run for a year and to attract about (paying)1000 readers – probably a more reasonable goal then 5000 subscribers in half a year.

However, this business model was tested before and died, thus is the   survival of MyNewspaper under the development of Web 2.0 reasoanable? Readers might subscribe rather to free RSS feeds as for example for IPads and Kindles then starting the effort to select actively what topic out of which journal they would like to receive.

Thus, is it then more reasonable to focus on the development of apps for smart phones and pads and to forget about the printed news versions?

Many of the comments on other posts revealed that most of us are still fond of using and reading printed news. Hence we might try something new and design an individual newspaper.

Would I subscribe to MyNewspaper?
No! Personally, the time invested to select the topics that I want to read the next day, could be invested otherwise. For instance, just check the personal RSS-reader or read any type of online news. Additionally, paying such a high amount for it, does not turn it more attractively. Still, it interests me to see whether MyNewspaper will still be on the market in about one year and how the potential readers react to that special offer. In Berlin, as we know, the response revealed lower results then expected.

This video might be an answer why printed news will yet survive.

About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.


2 thoughts on “Chief journalist: me?

  1. What shall I say?
    At first maybe that I like newspapers. Niiu maybe didn’t survive because it’s not been needed. I mean you have the choice between a zillion different newspapers. Editing one yourself is maybe just to time consuming than just choosing one. Still I am sad that Web 2.0 is suppressing the good old Gutenberg but I shouldn’t complain. I have not ordered a real newspaper since I moved out myself so I’m not better at all.
    The Swiss are just crazy. 1000€ for an abo. I mean …
    Liked that the last video too. Shows that there are at least a few things out there Web 2.0 cant do (yet).

    Posted by Lucas | January 16, 2012, 10:18 pm
  2. Hey Fernanda, your post was really interesting to read since I have worked as an intern at niiu prior to my studies and thus spend a whole lot of time on the individualized newspaper. And contrasting to Lucas opinion on making your own newspaper I need to admit, I never liked to read any news better than “my own”. It’s not that time consuming to edit your own choice of categories you are interested in and the newspaper you think will write about it best. But that is subjective.

    Furthermore I believe, that printed newspapers do not have a bright future, but online individualized news will offer more. Due to several readers you can obviously put together your favorite news already and in Zite (http://zite.com/) we have an app that helps you to put together your news in a nice magazine-style layout.
    So getting back to individualized news, I think there is a brought market, but rather online than printed.

    Since we already talked about your post in class, I am really happy that you reacted on my feedback. Your post is very nicely structured due to the subheads and I especially like your personal conclusion in the end. It is differentiated and summarizes what you wrote before without taking an own conclusion from your reader. Plus the video is a funny end.

    Posted by emilybrgmnn | February 12, 2012, 6:50 pm

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