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Newspaper Next 2.0

Posted by Debra Mason on September 13, 2008

By Kaleigh Glaza
What is Next for Newspapers?
One of the most important challenges that newspapers face today is the competition from the emerging market of online journalism, according to Steve Buttry, a trainer with the American Press Institute and editor of The Cedar Rapids Gazette. At a presentation on Thursday as a part of the Centennial Celebration, Buttry addressed how rapidly the online sector is outgrowing many of the smaller newspapers in today’s mass media market. API’s project, Newspaper Next 2.0 seeks to bring journalism up to speed with new technology and reporting methods.

Newspaper Next 2.0 is a kind of online tutorial for today’s newspapers on how to survive in an increasingly online world. Though filled with statistics and charts that are in no way encouraging to print journalists, it also offers potential solutions to some of the most basic problems journalists face today, including the most important—the need to adjust to the new online forum.

As Buttry stood in front of a room full of his peers, he laid out in almost brutal terms the decline of the print news arena. He stressed the need for innovation despite the obstacles of training, attitude and costs, and challenged his audience to overcome these barriers, citing journalistic obligation and duty as a motivator.

Buttry claimed it was always the job of journalists to overcome, whether it was as an industry as a whole or just one reporter trying to nail that big story. “It’s part of our DNA as journalists,” he said as he paced the stage animatedly.  “We [can’t] take obstacles as excuses.”

According to Buttry, the ability of print journalism to secure revenue in the future will require focus on what he has dubbed “mega-jobs” that are geared towards connecting with the local community. “We need to become a local information and connection utility,” he stressed. This, he believes, is one of the keys to helping print news maintain relevance in new media.

Yet only time—and experimentation—will tell if Steve Buttry’s help manual will truly help print journalism to stand a better chance of not only survival, but growth.

Posted for Kaleigh by Debra Mason

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