This is a reply to Alison Gows´utter on newspapers building communities
markmedia's Mobile post sent by Alison using Utterz. Replies. mp3
I posted Markmedia's reply to my Utterz here because it's actually a far more lucid and interesting answer than my ramble deserved.
Mark makes an excellent point about newspapers having to become a hub; I was talking to Neil MacDonald about this earlier although I used the phrase 'toolbox' - giving them as much information as we can in our online space and providing them links to expert external sites that can inform them further.
Mark is right - our products (paper and online) can be hubs for the audience. We need to make our sites indispensible - an information port of call - rather than a repository of our news. Users should be able to add to that information bank, as with wikis, and put up external links. If we don't offer the service, readers will find somewhere else that does. People use papers and websites in the most disposable of ways - occupying time on a bus, or searching for information, consuming it and moving on.
The idea of loyalty ("our readers love the paper")is a myth repeated by journalists but we're only fooling ourselves; our audience will stay with us if we can attract and hold their attention - if we can't they will move on.