Digital v. print

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October 3, 2012 by Judy Gibbs Robinson

About 20 people showed up today for the second roundtable discussion, which focused on digital v. print delivery. Thank you everyone for your participation!

We set the stage with a short PowerPoint about industry trends regarding print and digital news delivery and ad revenue. Then the discussion started at three tables.

Here are some of the things we learned:

Roundtable participants liked the print paper for these reasons:

  • It’s convenient and easier to read than the website.
  • It has games and puzzles.
  • The front page makes stories pop out
  • Article can be clipped
  • No WiFi access required
  • Print keeps a reader focused better

Participants liked the website for these reasons:

  • It’s convenient
  • It’s easy to navigate
  • It’s quickest for breaking news
  • It’s easy to share articles
  • It has a searchable archive
  • It can be accessed via smart phones
  • There’s more content; more space

They disliked the website because:

  • It’s hard to read, especially for longer articles.
  • You have to have a device to access it
  • It seems less credible
  • No “serendipity” — accidental discovery of an article

The disliked the print newspaper because:

  • the paper drops aren’t always convenient (they suggested it should be at coffee shops and restaurants as well as on campus)
  • it’s not well publicized/marketed

Participants also indicated:

  • quality content is always a factor in readership — print and online
  • the print paper could be designed to be more reader-friendly, with shorter stories and more break-out elements
  • the website needs to be marketed better, it needs to be more interactive and needs more “desirable” content

We asked participants how they would feel if The Daily weren’t in print five days a week. The results:

  • At two of three tables, participants agreed they could adjust to life without a daily print paper on campus. One of those tables agreed the Monday paper would be missed the most. The other thought the Friday and Tuesday papers would be missed the most.
  •  One table felt it would be “upsetting”to change the routine of having a daily print paper on campus, and that news would become stale.

Participants did agree that access to should be free for students. They were divided on the question of a paywall for non-students. Some responses:

  • The Daily isn’t prestigious enough that people would pay.
  • People have other campus news sources so they wouldn’t pay.
  • If there were a paywall, each student should get three free logins — one for the student and one each for parents, who already pay too much to send students to college.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment here.



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