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The [Thursday] Papers

"Nearly 10 percent of the inmates in Illinois' juvenile prisons have essentially completed their sentences - in some cases more than a year ago - but are stuck behind bars because they have no place to go, state records show," the Tribune reports.

"Many of the youths are being held longer in one of the state's eight juvenile prisons because officials cannot find an appropriate placement in a transitional living program or other kind of facility. Others are still in prison because officials found the homes of families or friends to be unacceptable, or because families simply refuse to take them back, according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act."

Disaster Model
"We could have told Johnston Press, when it announced the plans back in November, that people won't pay to read local newspapers online. But you can't begrudge the publisher finding out for sure for itself," paidContent reports.

"Its three-month pay trial on six local papers sites is now ending, with apparently dismal results. One paper staffer tells HTFP the trial was a 'disaster' with subscribers "in single figures", while another title got subscribers only 'in the low double figure', Press Gazette says."

Here's my favorite part:

"While some of the sites had pay or registration barriers, others' articles told readers to go buy the paper after paragraph two."

Frustrating your customers and then trying to force unnatural behaviors on them is not a winning business model.

*

"Quoted on JP-owned Scotsman.com in November, CEO John Fry got swept up in Rupert Murdoch's new bullishness: 'Having examined JP's traffic, the most valuable comes from loyal users. Those who come to JP from search engines tend to come from a sensationalist angle, and are therefore are not as valuable from an advertising point of view.'"

That actually is true, though. Nick Denton of Gawker Media has been saying the same thing.

"New visitors are only really valuable if they become regulars," Denton now says.

Of course, I've been saying that since I started here in 2006. The way I've always looked at it is that returning readers are like your subscribers, while "unique" visitors often coming from search engines are like newsstand buyers, attracting by a particular story but folks who may never read you again.

From both an editorial and advertising standpoint, returning visitors are of far more importance than bursts of unique visitors. This is also why SEO is far from the end-all, be-all, and why sites based on SEO strategies (NBCChicago.com strikes me as one) are not sustainable (though NBC's local sites have certain economies of scale that work in their favor).

Woo-hoo Yahoo!
"Yahoo has recruited nearly a dozen journalists from traditional and online media outlets and opened a bureau in Washington to push into original content and increase the popularity of its online news site," the New York Times reports.

This is really just the latest dozen, as regular Beachwood readers will recognize. Like AOL, Yahoo! is making aggressive moves into original content - politics, sports, finance - and finding it profitable. And why not? I do not fear a world in which companies like these use their massive hoards of cash to fund journalism.

*

But do they have journalism values? I can hear the lamebrains asking.

Compared to whom? Sam Zell or Colonel McCormick? Conrad Black? Gannett? NBC?

*

Also from paidContent:

"AOL practically added two new sites a month last year as part of its goal to reach 100 sites under its MediaGlow content group. While the content strategy has lately rested on building up its freelance content site Seed.com, AOL still plans to roll out more verticals. The latest is what amounts to an overhaul of the AOL Food channel in the form of recipes site Kitchen Daily, which was fully launched this morning. Parts of AOL Food are sticking around on Kitchen Daily, including Grilling Hub and Dinner Tonight page. But an AOL rep tells paidContent that the Slashfood blog will be kept as a separate, stand-alone site, as it continues to focus more on the food news and culture."

Sigh. This, too, is the model I've been preaching. Using the revenue from sites like these to fund journalism is one of the primary models that will lead the way; ironically it's based on the old newspaper model. The metro section never paid for itself; the food section and its brethren subsidized it. I'm almost sick of talking about it and seeing it work elsewhere while watching funders continue to be enamored with completely unworkable citizen journalism projects.

*

Speaking of old models working, the success of Craigslist only proved the value of classified ads. Craigslist didn't demolish the old model, it validated it. The difference is that Craig Newmark, quite by accident, innovated through the simple use of e-mail (at first) and then a website. He maintained brand loyalty by keeping his service largely but not wholly free - and is fabulously wealthy because of it. He brought classifieds closer to the customers. In short, he didn't change the model as much as he just executed it better because he wasn't sitting on his ass and just collecting paychecks.

Money is made by selling goods and services. You can't really come up with a whole lot of new there. There are no secret formulas. The models are staring us right in the face.

Two Kegs Of Busey!
At the Point Break Beach Party!

Beachwood field trip?

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Shoot The Tires!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Break serve.



Permalink

Posted on April 1, 2010


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Fantasy Fix Draft Guide Pt. 3: The Professor!

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Ray Rayner & Friends.


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