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FUTURE OF NEWS

An Online Survival Guide

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Longtime online news consultant Vin Crosbie says newspapers and their Web sites must change their approach to publishing news -- online and off -- if they want to successfully compete with the many Web sites and other new information sources vying for readers' attention and loyalty.

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FUTURE OF NEWS

Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer Looks at the Future of News

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David Brin envisions a future in which the world is plastered with e-info -- virtual Post-It notes, ads and other data -- that we can access via glasses, earbuds and other devices that link wirelessly to databases and instantly deliver information to us.

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0 Bob Benz, General Manager of Interactive Media, E.W. Scripps Company | "Instead of building content based on what we want people to like on the Internet, maybe we should start looking at what it is they want on the Internet. How are they using it? What do they need? How do we truly complement our print product? Then we can start looking at new products that address new or eroding niches."
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0 Robert S. Cauthorn, VP of Digital Media, San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com | "Three years ago, 69 percent of our online readers didn't -- and never had -- read the printed editions. But now only 38 percent haven't, despite our 30 percent compounding annual audience growth. ... We've converted those folks from online people to online and print people by encouraging them to buy single copies or to subscribe."
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0 Jim Chisholm, Senior Strategy Advisor, World Association of Newspapers | Chisholm thinks newspapers are facing major problems but can survive -- provided that they are realistic about what must be done to solve those problems. "The sad fact is that the major issue is the declining interest in news generally, in both volume and intensity."
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0 Hugo Drayton, Managing Director, Telegraph Group Limited | Drayton represents a new wave of newspaper publishers whose background is with online -- not newsprint. Drayton said he believes the online advertising market will improve. "For newspapers as well as other businesses, the Web is a valid, profitable and effective advertising and sponsorship medium."
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0 Chris Jennewein, Director of Internet Operations, The San Diego Union-Tribune | Jennewein launched the world's first newspaper Web site for the San Jose Mercury News in 1993. He believes news sites will eventually thrive. "I'm a big optimist on this issue," said Jennewein. "I'm convinced that newspaper companies can use their online editions to more than make up for declines in revenue and circulation on the print side."
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0 Christopher Schroeder, VP for Strategy, The Washington Post Company | Schroeder thinks newspapers eventually might be able to charge for their online content, but not yet. "We face two challenges. The first is obvious: Consumers already get enough that is free. The second is a lot of people are already paying -- but paying their ISPs."
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0 Michael A. Silver, VP of Strategy and Development, Tribune Interactive | "No question that finding the right formula for paid content is a challenge; but if we believe that we're doing something that has value to a consumer, we ought to also believe that it's not out of the question that the consumer will pay for it. What has value? Well, in truth, the consumer will decide that -- not us. But we better be listening."
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0 Simon Waldman, Director of Digital Publishing, Guardian Newspapers Group | "The newspaper industry is no longer about the print product, but about a tapestry of news products. ... The smarter newspapers will see the print, online and wireless editions as a whole and manage accordingly," Waldman said. "It's clear that the whole will have the value."
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0 Steven Yelvington, VP of Strategy and Content, Morris Newspapers Interactive Division | "The competitive landscape, the array of media choices and the availability of information has so radically changed that the content package offered by newspapers is becoming obsolete. Moving the same content package from print to Internet isn't a solution. If people are wandering away from it when it's in print, why would we think they'll bond with it on the Web?"
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