Advertising vs. Newspapers

Robert Niles in OJR:

  News publishers like to point to television, free news online, English literacy rates and slew of other reasons to explain their readership losses. But the contempt that newspapers show for their readers by burying their editorial content beneath their remaining advertising surely is not helping keep readers around.

He goes on,

  Everyday I check the website of the Pasadena Star-News. And every day, the front section of the website’s homepage is obscured by a pop-up widget urging me to take a survey about the site’s new design. Click the red “X” in the corner to close the widget window, and the op-up appears every time you return to the page. (If you click the button decling to take the survey, the window disappears for the remainder of your session.)

  If I register with the LA Times website, the Times insists on spamming me with commercial e-mails for products about which I do not care. If I opt-out of the e-mails, the Times cancels my website registration. (Which is why I don’t have a Times website registration anymore…

  And let’s not forget the slew of pop-up, pop-under and screen take-over ads that accompany any visit to more newspaper websites than I am any longer able to count.

When we’re in Santa Barbara we get the LA Times, and I agree with Robert’s complaints. And I’ve been advising papers to get the clues for a long time too. This time, however, Robert offers a new clue that I really like:

  if news organizations are proud of their news content, why do so many insist on hiding it?

  Readers owe you nothing. They have no responsibility as citizens to read your reporting, and no responsibility as consumers to look at your ads. The have the right, and ability, to go about their lives without ever once glancing at your publication.

  If you want people to read your publication, you then need to do whatever is necessary to make them want to read it.

  That means leading with your best shot.

Lots more there. Read the whole thing.

Via the Head Lemur.

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