Let’s stop being our own worst bully


Unrelenting negativity and half-truths. This is what bullies use to belittle. This is what we as an industry do to ourselves. And if we want this to change, we need to change our tune.

The economy is tough. Lots of industries are facing challenges. Our industry is saddled with … well, let’s not go there, as the problems are often discussed.

But there is so much to be proud of. So much that we can and should shout from the rooftops.

Newspapers are everywhere that consumers want them. We embraced devices that allow people to visit our sites: computers, tablets, e-readers, and mobile phones. And we did this fast and before other media.

We are empowering ourselves with social media. We have news on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.

We are experimenting and getting out of our comfort zone. Some offer electronic books. Others undertake local events. We are strategically partnering with our newspaper competitor brethren – with initiatives such as sharing delivery and creating co-owned Web sites (e.g. for recruitment).

All this — and advertisements still work in newspapers. Our strength is the trust that consumers have in our editorial product. As such, they trust the ads in newspapers more than any other medium.

And they want the ads. They don’t want the TV ads. People go to great lengths to avoid them – digital video recording programmes so they can skip the commercials.

Augmented reality has brought “sexy” to newspapers. It has made us hot. It has upped our talk factor. Using a mobile phone or computer, a newspaper ad can be used as the trigger (using a QR code, symbol, or visual recognition) to feature sound, video, or an interactive element (e.g. allows you to park a car).

This is fun and it can be educational. And it is great for advertisers.

Our digital ads also benefit from the halo of trust that other media do not. And add to this the fact our newspaper sites also garner multiple visits in a day. Few sites have repeat business over a single day.

Our research tells us newspaper Web site readers visit 3.3 times a day. Those who read newspapers on a tablet visit 3.7 times a day. Those who use a mobile phone to get newspaper content, via newsletter or the site, are reached 4.3 times in day.

We need to engage our newspaper staff. Remind them that we are doing, trying, and achieving! Let our people tell our story.

As an industry, we must stop acting like victims and start talking like proud innovators … and winners.

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