David Boardman’s roadmap for newspapers: Build a superb Sunday paper, then invest in tech

David Boardman maps out a wise future for newspapers: Make print less frequent but higher quality, then reinvest in technology for a rich user and producer experience. Read full post on Poynter and our my favorite points highlighted below:

Move past daily: Let’s get real. The seven-day-a-week printed newspaper – particularly in metropolitan areas – is terminally ill. Working to sustain it is not only futile, but ultimately destructive to the very values its champions espouse.

Sunday is where the revenue and readers are: For years, newspaper publishers and editors have known through market research that the Sunday paper is a different, more intimate experience for consumers. A good Sunday edition, with a mix of investigative journalism, profiles, cultural reporting, perspective pieces, sports analysis, photography, comics, crosswords and coupons, is an experience many people value and even love. And for most papers, the Sunday edition already accounts for more than half of their total revenue. For some, it’s around 60 percent. It’s a proven, effective vehicle for advertisers.

Make print higher quality and less frequent: So, I say to publishers: Invest in a superb, in-depth, last-all-week Sunday (or better yet, Saturday) paper, a publication so big and rich and engaging that readers will devour it piece by piece over many days, and pay a good price for that pleasure.

Then re-invest in tech: Then turn your attention and your resources where they belong now: Creating meaningful, engaging and sustainable news products for emerging technologies, where most of you are already woefully behind such innovative rivals as Vox and Vice. Move deliberately to one weekly, “lean back” printed paper and an array of quality, interactive, “lean in” digital products, especially for mobile devices, to which your readers are moving far faster than you are.

Make the transition with confidence, courage and transparency: Finally, make this transition in a brave, bold, confident – and candid – way. Pick a date certain – say, January 1, 2018 – and tell your readers and advertisers unapologetically that that’s where you are headed, why you are headed there, and that you want their help in figuring out how to get there in a way that will serve them and the community best. They – and the 38,000 journalists still working for American newspapers – deserve the truth. They can handle it. Can you?

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