News Organizations Should Not Be Online

Written by Ryan Thornburg January 12, 2010 8:24 am EST 6 comments

Monday kicked off a new semester, and I started by challenging the students in my online news production class with this statement: News organizations should not have a Web site.

The statement picks up on a session I led at last summer’s N.C. Press Association’s Newspaper Academy. In a time of tight budgets, news organizations must be focused on delivering their core product, service or experience. Everything they do must be justified — including having a Web site. Unless a news organization can clearly state why they have an online presence, they should drop it.

The students’ responses focused on the Web as a platform for competing on breaking news and for reaching audiences — especially young people — where they are. My goal for the semester is to help them see that online journalism is a wonderful tool for telling more memorable and relevant news stories, and not just about 24/7 distribution.

Make your anonymous argument after the jump — can you articulate a clear, rational, viable reason that your news organization should be online? Or make your public comment for attribution here.

Learn More

At Small Paper, Breaking News Boosts Audience

Written by Ryan Thornburg September 9, 2008 3:20 pm EDT No comments

The Pilot in Southern Pines, N.C., is small by circulation but not by ambition. In the September newsletter for the N.C. Press Association, president Rick Thames notes that the paper, which circulates 14,584 copies three times a week, boosted the number of daily unique visitors to its Web site from 5,000 to 5,700 in six weeks. How? By posting more stuff more often.

The lesson, Thames writes: “The more you post, the higher your numbers will climb.”

Yes, and there’s a good reason for that.

Learn More

What I'm reading

  • Email… Not “E-mail”: Yahoo Creates Style Guide for Web Content 2010/06/28
  • Open Government Data | National Data Catalog 2010/06/27
  • Google And Twitter Ask Court To Reconsider 'Hot News' 2010/06/24
  • YouTube - Diller Sees Readers Adapting to Paid Online Content: Video 2010/06/22
  • From the "Dollars to Data: Online Financial Tools and Civic Media" workshop on Flickr - Photo Sharing! 2010/06/22

Blog Archive