One man’s plan to save newspapers
by Michelle Davies
Alan Jacobson, President and CEO of the Virginian-based company Brass Tacks Designs, has a set of rules he believes can help newspapers compete against the onslaught of the internet.
Brass Tacks Designs focuses on editorial, classified and online redesign and has produced redesigns on newspapers around the world. Theses are Alan’s rules on saving newspapers.
1. Get real about the Internet: “The Internet …provides everyone with a powerful publishing technology. Freedom of the press no longer belongs to those who own one.”
2. Tie journalists’ pay to circulation: “Make it a pocketbook issue for the producers.”
3. Ignore loyal readers: “It’s pointless to chase after loyal readers because you can’t sell any more papers to them. Focus your attention on pass-along readers and single-copy purchasers.”
4. Stop printing news stories: ”All news should be on your paper’s site. The newspaper is for stories that provide meaning about the news.”
5. Feed the cash cow: ”It’s time to invest in people, paper, products, promotion and production.”
6. Drop the price: “Advertisers will pay even higher rates as long as they get results.”
7. Solve the online revenue riddle: “We need to start with a clean sheet of paper and design webpages that provide an attractive environment for advertising.”
8. Promote as if success depends upon it: “Because it does. People who aren’t reading the paper aren’t seeing in-paper promotion.”
9. Work together: This is no time for infighting between editorial, advertising, marketing and production. Editorial needs to trade section front space with advertising for better space inside. But take an active role in the design of these ads.