Monday, October 16, 2006

Investigating the future

While Mark Day writes about Australian newspaper editors who don't understand their web sites, the editor of the LA Times is activating his newsroom to go out and investigate the problem themselves. It's an interesting approach.

As the NYT puts it: "While visits to newspaper Web sites are increasing, they account for a small part of revenue and do not draw enough advertising to support newsroom operations."

This is the problem facing all newspapers. But rather than hiring consultants, or simply wringing their hands - though it sounds like there's been a lot of that already - the LA Times editor "is dedicating three investigative reporters and half a dozen editors to find ideas, at home and abroad, for re-engaging the reader, both in print and online."

Their sense of urgency is admirably, if a little belated: “'We realized we had to act fast or we wouldn’t have anything to act for,' said Vernon Loeb, the paper’s California investigations editor, who helped originate the idea."

So, will they publish the findings as a paper insert or a site feature?

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