Blue Angels’ Fog Cancelation Perfect Example Why Newspapers Are Failing

In what became a perfect example of why newspapers are failing business models, the Navy’s Blue Angels were forced to cancel their show, in San Francisco, yesterday due to fog conditions. The simple fact that fog was present forcing the Angels to cancel is not the reason American newspapers are going to go under–it’s the lack of breaking news delivery speed. Even worse? I wake up this morning and buy my local newspaper, the Marin Independent Journal a Gannet property, paying $1.25 for my “news.” Yet the news I wanted to read about, the most dominant story in the Bay Area, was not covered. Not even a mention in my Sunday edition.

Why Newspapers Will Fail

  • Mobile News: while a crowd of thousands stood around waiting for the Angels to reappear (after an initial flyover) one of the audience members announced that the show was canceled due to fog–he received the information off of his iPhone
  • Real Time vs. Their Time: if the “IJ” had run a story the next day on the show’s cancellation it would have at least been the opportunity for the paper to be more thorough by providing interviews or additional information.
  • Google Indexing-Where Are They?: In the most telling reason why newspapers will lose, a Google search “Blue Angels Cancel show” the top 10 results:
    • SF Chronicle #7 with no other newspapers in the top 20 first two pages of results
    • CBS, ABC, and bloggers dominated the news capturing the other 9 spots on page one

#1 Reason Why Newspapers Will Fail

Newspaper braintrusts do not understand that breaking news is not a commodity for monetization any longer. Bloggers and more agile online sources are crushing the newspaper industry at their own game. Even the name newspaper is no longer accurate. There is very little news in the papers that has not already been reported hours or even days before online.

Conclusion

Newspapers should monetize and sell their ability to create valuable commentary. Produce expert opinion, how to, or resource information. In essence, newspapers should follow the model of the most successful bloggers who have built audiences based on their ability to be perceived as a go-to source of information important to the audience

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2 thoughts on “Blue Angels’ Fog Cancelation Perfect Example Why Newspapers Are Failing

  1. Good commentary Dean. I totally agree with all your points.
    During my time at Bay Area Newsgroup ( Contra Costa Times)
    I was always the paper embrace the ongoing changes and leverage
    thier local access. It fell on deaf ears. They still are in denial.

  2. Hi Gary,

    Thank you for commenting and your positive input. As a former newspaper executive, you do understand both sides of the proverbial fence. You happen to understand what is happening to advertising and the massive change-move to the internet–more than your former co-workers.

    What do you think it will take to get these people to admit the paradigm shift? If they work with it rather than fighting it, they might have more positive results.

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