The newspaper business is tanking; partly caused by the economy, partly by the Internet, mostly because of the papers themselves. I wrote a couple of days ago how advertising account planners have to leave the building to get in touch with consumers. That is also true of newspaper reporters.
The following quote appeared in The New York Times this morning concerning the San Francisco Chonicle’s difficulties: “The Chronicle no longer has anything like the grip it once had on this region.” How does a newspaper create and maintain loyalty…or its grip? It must know its readers. It must live with its readers. Listen to and understand them. And that doesn’t come from periodic focus group research, it comes from feet on the street — at funerals, basketball tournaments, breast cancer walks, soup kitchens.
It’s ironic that the way most newspaper reporters get known today is from interviews on TV shows. I bet if you looked at the country’s best-read, most respected and decorated reporters, they are the ones with the biggest expense reports. The worst reporters are those who eat in the cafeteria every day. Peace!