Initiative 2003 — Written July 21, 2000

By Bernard Re, Jr.

 

 

 

Initiative 2003

 

 

 

"There will not be less media there will be more."

Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, NAA Connections 2000

 

 

 

By Bernard Re, Jr.

July 21, 2000

 

 

 

Contents

 

Introduction

Where do we fit in?

Establishing a Base: (SCJ October 1998 — July 2000)

Where do we go from here?

Coming Unglued

The Initiative 2003 vision

Initiative 2003 at Internet Speed

- New Media Champions

- "Super Local" Participatory News

- Redefining our news mission

- News Mission 2003

- What is "Super Local" news?

- How does "super local" news work?

- An Internet model - a hometown brand

Beyond 2003

When Can We Start

An Action Plan (October 2000 — January 2002)

© 2000 Bernard Re, Jr., Inter-Vitae, Inc.

 

 

 

Introduction:

It is July 2000 and the next three years will be a critical time for local news. Decisions made and implemented now will shape your future and mine. We can determine whether the local news franchise just survives — or thrives — and whether it can be transformed from a printed content/advertising business to an Internet communications/marketing business.

I have prepared this Initiative 2003 to communicate a vision of where I want to be by 2003. I want to move at Internet speed toward this vision because as you will see by reading this report other forces are working to unglue the local news franchise from the newspaper just as classifieds have become unglued.

"A recent survey found that the millions of Americans who use the Internet regularly trust the news and information they find online as much as they do equivalent offerings on TV and in newspapers. They also deem online information more up-to-date and accurate than TV offerings and more in-depth than the information in newspapers."

Screaming Media Survey
As reported in PC Magazine June 13, 2000

This Initiative 2003 is where I want to lead this company. It is an inclusive fundamental shift in the way the news is written, produced, distributed, interacted with, participated in and funded. It goes to the heart of the symbiotic relationship between news content and advertising content and the revenue model that is the wall that separates them as it surrounds them. It embraces an Internet where micro audiences replace mass marketing.

"The Internet continues to move further into the local space as companies recognize the importance of reaching out to and satisfying the needs of people on every level. Joining the No.1 local online network with the nation's premier news brand sets a precedent and not only expands Digital City's reach, but also provides the millions of USATODAY.com readers with easier, more convenient access to local news, information and entertainment," said Ted Leonsis, President of AOL Interactive Properties. Additionally, as part of the agreement, Digital City will sell all local advertising on the USATODAY.com Local City Guide. National advertising will be sold equally between the two companies.

AOL's Digital City and USATODAY.com Form Exclusive Alliance, July 20, 2000

 

 

 

Where do we fit in?

While large newspaper companies can afford to meet the challenges, threats and opportunities of the Internet though various initiatives…

KnightRidder.com, spun off from corporate parent Knight-Ridder will report an operating loss of $45-50 million for the year. Company officials expect the Real Cities national network of locally focused sites to generate approximately $50 million. KnightRidder.com is building a 125-member sales force… KnightRidder.com has locked down the local news provider channel for Palm, Inc’s wildly popular hand-held…

Tribune Co. investments in Classified Ventures and CareerPath… Tribune’s stakes in these sites increased to 35% following the acquisition of Times Mirror.

The Washington Post plans to spend $130 million for new business ventures, compared with $95 million in 1999. Washingtonpost.com news site was close to meeting its revenue budget that called for doubling revenue over 1999. Washingtonjobs.com… were up 66% from January. Most significantly, 90% of the washingtonjobs.com listings placed were not in the print edition.

The Sioux City Journal and other medium and small market newspapers must meet the challenges more directly on a day to day basis.

It is at these medium and small newspapers that the threat is the greatest — the challenge most intense. This threat is not only from the traditional local competition — television/cable, radio, the shopper, weeklies, dailies, regional/state publications and niche publications. It is now from Internet publishers — an emerging breed of local print and/or online publishers that are beginning to do business in the spaces that the local newspaper has ignored, left dissatisfied or has under-serviced.

"It is the news not the paper that matters."

Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, NAA Connections 2000

It will become increasingly clear as well that the Knight-Ridders, Washington Posts, CNNs, ESPNs, Yahoo!s, Microsofts, etc. are now going to invade our local markets with distributed local news and with vertical marketing products that they have been investing in and building for the last few years.

"Just announced this morning, Knight Ridder and Tribune Co. have agreed to acquire CareerBuilder and newspaper-backed CareerPath. Those companies will then be merged into a local and national recruitment network that should pose a significant challenge to online recruitment leader Monster.com."

New Media Federation, July 17, 2000

Without an investment fund to draw from New Media start-ups at the medium and small market newspapers have to be more inventive — and more aggressive building and protecting their local brand.

 

 

 

Establishing a Base: (October 1998 - Present)

At the Sioux City Journal we implemented an integrated in print and online New Media strategy that was only the very beginning in a continuing transformation. Our slogan is "In Print & Online — the Best In Both Worlds".

"The Internet has quickly become a mass phenomenon, now reaching as many as 134 million people in the United States. Data released by Jupiter Communications suggests that about half of U.S. residents go online. Four years ago just one out of ten people in the U.S. surfed the net."

David Lake, Access Up, Divide Shrinks, The Industry Standard, June 19, 2000

 

We established a way to fund our New Media start-up by increasing the print rates and transferring the increase to New Media. We added 24 per column inch for ROP Display and 14 for Classified Display and transferred the revenue to New Media to cover operating costs, education of advertiser, training of sales staffs, training of art staffs, etc. Although we originally planned to give advertisers a online banner as part of this rate increase this was later rejected as too costly to implement. We later — "As recognition of your continuing commitment to print advertising." — gave a free "Business Links Directory" listing to all advertisers who were purchasing print advertising at a certain volume level. To this day only a few people are aware of this rate increase that creates a fund of new revenue that goes to fund New Media operations monthly. I have come to call this transfer the "Cost of Integration" and to date it is the most important aspect of our successful New Media strategy. It gives us the breathing room we need to build and educate both our employees and our clients in the ways of Internet marketing and to explore and implement content and advertising models. This education/training/building process is a long and continuous one. As part of my Initiative 2003 as print rates are increased the transfer rates will also be increased thus leveraging the print revenue to fund the ongoing expansion.

•We have redesigned the web site into a (content/advertiser) branded "communications/marketing" interface" not a just a "graphical user interface". This redesign now gives us strong brand identity in a clean uncluttered environment where our content and advertisers are easily seen and reached. The redesign made possible multi-level advertising opportunities and instituted Internet standard banner sizes and the flexiblity to bring other products online as they evolve. The new interface also made possible our "only three clicks away" policy where a reader is only three clicks away from a advertising message no matter where on the news site they are.

• We launched participatory chat, polls and discussion features (www.common-mind.net) and integrated them with the news pages, tabs online and niche publications — as the first step toward my vision of a full participatory publishing environment.

• We have also introduced or redefined online classified verticals including our Employment Center, Classifieds and Automotive Showroom. These are now built and updated using classified data, print/online ads, banners and repackaged newspaper content. We introduced local news content into these verticals and developed a strategy of associating content with "advertising verticals" and "aggregated stories" to create "target audience groupings". We work now to apply this "associated content methodology" throughout the enterprise — as a more creative way to leverage existing print content assets for online publishing. This building, evolving and fine-tuning of site and sales process has identified our "Employment Center" as the major revenue generator for New Media. The online Employment Center vertical has gone from Rachel Porter, our Employment Specialist, calling each print advertiser every week and asking them to bring their print ad online to where we are today — bringing all employment print ads online for an additional charge unless the advertiser says otherwise. This "negative response" technique so widely used in direct mail clubs is now handled mostly by our regular classified sales personnel — freeing up Rachel to expand this employment model into markets outside our paper distribution area. This evolution illustrates the "champion" concept - an important part of my Initiative 2003 that I will introduce later in this presentation.

• We have brought printed content and advertisers from ROP, Classified tabs and niche publications online into sections like Siouxland Health Care, Farming Connection, Apartment Guide, Parenting and other audience groupings. Tabs that are brought online have extended shelf life as content and as niche page inventory for banner placement. Online tabs are another major source of revenue.

• We have aggregated existing printed news content assets into "Special Web Publishing Packages" as easy to navigate sections such as Politics, Explorer Baseball, The Attack and columns. This creates a space for current items as well as archived items to be easily found and viewed and creates a long-term inventory of pages for banner sponsors. As an example, in August 1999 we aggregated all "Fast Pitch Softball Tournament" content in one easy to find place and attracted over 10,000 page views for that area alone in just seven days! We will expand the special web publishing/packaging areas to include a "Gateway Computer Resource Center". This will include all news stories that SCJ has produced (and brought online) since 1995 into a "subscriber only or pay-per-view area". We will also begin doing this with "SOSINC" a new and important TCP/IP telephony technology company based here in Sioux City that I believe will be a great source of national attention in the coming years. These two new content areas will build traffic and create new banner marketing opportunities. As part of Initiative 2003 we will continue to identify local and regional (or in state) news niches that have national and global value as revenue and traffic builders. We will use this growing "long-shelf-life" content library to test personalized news and pay-per-view archive services as well.

• We have entered into a connectivity/hosting/content partnering with Pioneer Internet a local ISP owned by a local telephone company. In exchange for SCJ marketing their Internet ISP service we get connectivity, hosting and support services. This will result in substantial savings by not expanding and possibly reducing our hosting arrangement with Infinet.

• We have brought online (with print ad /online listing bundle) two new print publications: SiouxlandXL, a weekly (arts/entertainment/lifestyle) and Siouxland Business Journal, a monthly. We also have a banner sales rate package that corresponds to weekly and monthly print rates.

• We promote the print edition with online promotion of "in print only content"messages every day — but the newspaper does not promote the online news in any substantial way. As part of Initiative 2003 the paper must start including web site URLs on all section headers and at other appropriate places in the print edition.

• We have entered into branded content partnerships with AccuWeather, Everstream (Music), Horoscopes, Comics Edge, E-ThePeople (Politics) and a local op/ed cartoonist.

• This time period has seen our site traffic and statistics go from under 60,000 visitors per month to over 200,000 per month with page views nearing the 500,000 mark.

• We have begun to explore a concept that I would like to more fully develop as part of Initiative 20003 of re-positioning the print and online Classifieds as a Classifieds/Directory vertical. We would add new categories that would appear in print and online that appeal to businesses that are traditionally non-newspaper advertisers. We would need to assign a "New Media Champion" in the Classified Department to sell this.

• We are currently testing another Classified initiative called BeTheAuctioneer.com that re-positions a classified line ad as a auction offer. The advertiser sets the opening bid (or asks for bids) and accepts or rejects offers until they get their price.

• We have designed, produced and scheduled our own New Media print advertising campaigns and have marketed online via Internet Search engines and directories with very favorable keyword search ranking results.

We have installed Open Ad Stream (Infinet), a advertiser reporting software that enables reporting of banner views, click-thru rates, etc. This has boosted our banner sales to Internet savvy advertisers.

• We will launch our first e-commerce shopping site for a local business in August using ShopSite (Infinet) software earning one time site development fees and monthly hosting fees.

We have worked to introduce our print sales force to online marketing opportunities, have supplied them with a sales kit and have shown them how to offer our online products to their accounts. There have been some successes here but swift implementation of Initiative 2003 is needed to move forward.

• We are working on a procedure that will leverage the BaseView accounting system. This will supply us with a daily list of print advertisers. We will then bring that list online with links to advertiser web pages. This forced-buy or add-on-buy online listing will create a daily revenue stream for New Media with very little production work and give all our print advertisers the chance to participate in online marketing.

Accounting for 1999, the first full year of New Media operations, resulted in approximately $300,000 in total revenue. Rate transfers accounted for approximately $210,000 and $90,000 came from New Media product sales. Expenses totaled $190,000. Resulting in New Media profits of $110,000. Thus far in 2000 New Media revenue from product sales alone totals approximately $80,000.

 

 

 

Where do we go from here?

There are new Internet access devices, software and networks coming. From digital "paper" to POD that will shape the way we read, access and deliver the news and plan our capital expenditures. We must be ready to distribute our local content and to market our clients’ goods and services on whatever device that comes into use.

"If you think a newspaper must always involve an imprint of inks on costly pulp that is processed from Canadian trees, trucked into urban factories and trucked out again to ever more widely dispersed readers, then its prospects are dim indeed. There is no feature of that paper product that will not soon be replicated and improved by digital technologies."

"A Daily Digital can be delivered to you faster, cheaper and in much more versatile and desirable forms than any Truck Times. You could download it anywhere and read it on a portable tablet the size of a magazine. Or you could print out as much as you like on electronic sheets that feel like paper but can be endlessly reused in your home computer. Nothing magical about these forms; the technology is at hand."

Max Frankel, The New York Times Magazine. July 9, 2000

 

More than 30% of Americans go online for news at least once a week.

Only 20% did in 1998.

15% get reports off the web

• 40% of college graduates now get their news online,

up from 24% in 1998

28% of college graduates now tune into network news,

down from 40% in 1998

Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

What Napster has done to the music industry similar products will do to the big portals full of classifieds, autos and homes. There are also new peer-to-peer software products on the horizon that do Napster one better — they turn any computer hooked to the Internet into a server.

The peer-to-peer software agent would be sent out to look on other computers with similar software for a car, resume, home or product…

"The genie is not only out of the bottle, but the bottle has been dropped and broken. You cannot stop peer-to-peer file sharing; the challenge is how do you create a better drug?''

Michael Robertson, President, MP3.com, Silicon Valley News, July 18, 2000

At the Journal, as outlined above in the Establishing a Base section, we have identified, implemented and shaped a business strategy for leveraging print content and advertiser revenue in support of online publishing and marketing — but a great deal is left to do.

Even as we bring more print content assets online, print/online ad bundles, niche products, listings, and special content packages we must also begin to aggressively expand our online marketing opportunities that do not have to be tied to a print component. In fact online now needs to be looked at as a model that can transition print into a new publishing system.

 

 

 

Coming unglued:

We have all heard, "the newspaper has survived the radio and the television and it will survive the Internet" speech.

"Authors will become publishers, publishers will become retailers, retailers will be publishers."

Steve Riggio, Barnesandnoble.com, Newsweek, June 5, 2000

If the Internet was like television and radio I would agree, but the Internet is like the Industrial Revolution — and today — we all drive cars — and get our ice out of a refrigerator.

"The old media isn’t going to die, but it is going to get sick."

Jesse Berst, Editorial Director, ZDNet Anchor Desk, Old Media 2000: Beginning of the End, July 12, 2000

 

I think the glue is melting everywhere.

"The new (Internet) economics of information is melting the glue that holds together value chains, supply chains, consumer franchises and organizational hierarchies."

Philip Evans, Senior Vice President, Boston Consulting Group, Blown to Bits, NAA Connections 2000

 

Book, music and news industries are the most visible examples.

 

 

 

Content is coming unglued from traditional packagers and packagers are becoming unglued from traditional distribution networks.

Go to Travelocity.com and see the world of travel unglued from the travel agency. Or to Amazon.com where retailing is being reinvented every day. Watch the IBM television ads and realize that all businesses will have web sites. Read the news about how AT&T Broadband Services wants to partner with local content in Denver for their @Home service. Look at you mail and find a offer for a "professionally designed three page web site for only $9.95 per month" from Network Solutions!

In labs, garages and college dorm rooms around the world new networking and access devices are being dreamed up, built and tested — the heat is on, the melting will continue.

"Lucent (E Ink/Lucent/Hearst/Motorola) plans to have a working prototype of a flexible TFT (digital paper) by October 2000 at the latest... By late 2001, 3M (Xerox) will be churning out electronic reusable paper that can be used an infinite number of times — sort of flexible Etch-A-Sketch."

News Flash (article about Digital Paper), Paul Kunkel, Wired, August 2000

 

"Gateway and AOL to build a Internet access tablet."

Gateway.com

The Initiative 2003 vision

At the Sioux City, as outlined in "Establishing a Base" section on page seven, we have been able to get some aspects of what I am calling Initiative 2003, into place.

But within the next six to twelve months the local news will, just as the local classifieds have already, will start to become unglued from the "newspaper" franchise.

Initiative 2003 is designed to slow that process and position us to expand our brand and evolve it into a wholly new business identity — a new business identity that could only exist because of the Internet — a new business identity that will grow because of the Internet.

Because of the Internet "the new economy is about communication deep and wide. Communication is not just a sector of the economy. Communication is the economy."

Kevin Kelly, former Executive Editor of Wired, author of New Rules for the New Economy

Initiative 2003 embraces the Internet and seeks to leverage it and our brand to build a new print and online twenty-first century communications/marketing business.

 

 

 

Initiative 2003 at Internet Speed

 

Establishing New Media Champions

 

Our experience in Sioux City has shown that staff exposure to New Media, sales kits and spending a few hours here and there on web sales, content, design and production is not enough.

Our New Media Employment Specialist Rachel Porter is a case in point as to what we need. She is our "champion" within the Classified Employment area. She has been given the tools, training, support and freedom. She is now "infecting" the rest of the Classified Department as well as mentoring a newly hired "champion-in-training" person.

If retaining quality online salespeople wasn't already a major undertaking, America Online's new local sales push could make it downright impossible. A large ad in the July 10 Advertising Age seeks sales account executives, local sales managers and regional sales directors for 25 large markets, including Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh, Orlando and St. Louis. AOL dangles an extra juicy carrot by offering stock options. True, AOL stock hasn't exactly been flying high since the Time Warner deal was announced, but it's an incentive many media companies don't match. Let the sales battles — and retention efforts - begin.

New Media Federation, July 18, 2000

 

 

 

We must, under the joint direction of the New Media Director and the department director, reassign or hire dedicated "New Media Champions" for all departments.

Including "New Media Champions" in:

- Art/Composing Department

- Retail Marketing Department

- Automotive Marketing

- Real Estate Marketing

- Accounting Department

- Circulation Department

- Editorial News (print/online news)

- Advertorial

- New Accounts (telemarketing) Marketing

If we are to "thrive" we must interject these "New Media Champions" into each department and help them to evolve and infect everyone in the rest of the department that surrounds them.

 

 

 

 

Establishing "Super Local" Participatory News

 

The Internet has made publishers out of us all.

A person with a passion for a local sports team can create a web site for that team, "viral market" it, gain traffic, gain press coverage and have a successful site. If that person with the passion then starts selling banners to local businesses on that now popular site they have made it into a profitable site as well. E-Bay is the best example of this passion turned profit model for thousands of individual collectors — imagine a News-Bay run by AOL/Time Warner…

The situation gets worse when a local company with money to invest and a passion starts a niche web site, launches a print companion for that web site and starts to take our best advertisers with them.

Then there are the Real Cities, Yahoo!s and AOL/USAToday’s— and the local television and radio stations - all beginning to get Internet religion in regards to local online news.

The lesson is Classifieds - the challenge is how to prevent it from happening to local news.

 

 

 

Redefining the news mission

 

Recognize that it is no longer good enough to have local news when you can find local news on Yahoo!, Digital Cites and from many other major and minor portals.

"What is important is getting news that is credible and in context… Think as a brand that has distinctive value to advertisers and readers."

Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide, NAA Connections 2000

 

 

News Mission 2003

 

To provide "super local" journalistic news and information through a participatory interface to registered users on a 7/24 basis.

 

 

 

What is "Super Local" news?

 

I have created the term "super local" news to define news that is reported at the neighborhood level by any writer adhering to a disclosed journalistic policy/standard.

The "super local" news concept can also be applied to any geographic location defined by Zip Code(s) or telephone exchange(s) as long as the news is of "super local" user interest.

The "super local" news site is inclusive and unrestricted by the economics of newsprint, presses and trucks.

 

 

 

How does a "super local" news site and network work?

The "super local" journalist/producer will report and post everything that he/she discovers within or that is effecting the "super local" neighborhood.

A "super local" journalist/producer need not report for work to a building everyday.

The "super local" journalist/producer would post stories directly online onto a "super local neighborhood news site" where the item can be interacted with through participatory news posts, news updates, discussions, polls and self-publishing neighborhood resident opinion and home pages.

The "super local" journalist/producer will post and update everything from bus schedules to car crashes — from school plays to school board meetings. They will have a passion for the people and conditions of the neighborhood. They will be the record keepers of a people, a time and a "super local" place.

The "super local" journalist/producer will participate directly with the reader through the full news cycle as the story or event unfolds.

Readers will follow and participate in the story in a "threaded discussion" style interface.

"If there was any agreement among the participants, it was that successful Web sites provide content that is targeted to a particular audience, is unique, is updated regularly, and is accurate and reliable. Oh, and the content should be entertaining as well."

Jake Kircher, ZDNet, PC Magazine, June 13, 2000, The Long Haul (Screaming Media Conference)

 

"Super local" news overlaid with participation and updates takes on some aspects of entertainment. This will increase its appeal to the one-time user who wants to get the history behind today’s update as well as those users who come back daily to follow the "super local" news story or event as it unfolds.

These "super local neighborhood news sites" would form a "wide area news network" and have the brand identity of the sponsoring media portal. They would carry "super local advertising and e-commerce" as well as "wide area news network" advertising and e-commerce.

The sponsoring media portal (the newspaper, radio, television, shopper, etc.) would then go online and data mine the "super local neighborhood news sites". The media sponsor would then publish the "first few paragraphs" of any high-interest items IN PRINT and on their portal or news"paper" site — sending readers to the "super local neighborhood site" for the full story with interactive features.

The sites would cross promote and sell per site banner buys or combination buys of "super local community network sites" and "media sponsor" or portal site.

It is my hope is that this scenario will be developed by the local news "newspaper" brand — but could be developed by any local news provider, print publication like a shopper, local ISP or any company with a vision, passion for community, deep pockets and/or a strong brand.

 

 

 

An Internet model — a hometown brand

 

The technology is here. "super local" news is an Internet model ripe for implementation and exploitation — it even has some potential to expand print circulation.

"Super local" news using "super local virtual journalists/producers and web sites" is a way to bring back a "hometown brand" of the news to communities and neighborhoods throughout your distribution area that are under-serviced or feel ignored.

Including "one column of super local news briefs — with links to the rest of the story" from each "super local community news site" into the newspaper on a regular basis could be a reason for people in those nearby communities to subscribe again. This column would be a quick guide to what is online at their "community site".

This "quick guide column" is the best way to direct traffic to the "super local" sites. Once there the visitor will register and enter the site. These registered users are the Internet equivalent to subscribers and translate to valuable marketing assets.

"Super local" news is a way to extend your brand and news coverage area into "towns, communities and neighborhoods" through virtual "super local journalist/producers" — beyond where your trucks now go.

Because of the targeted geographic based nature of the "super local" concept it is easy to promote through direct mail, newspaper advertising and telemarketing.

Once implemented it can create a "self-qualifying" registered user group based on geographic location that can be profiled based on Zip Code driven database marketing — without any Internet privacy issues.

The "super local neighborhood news sites" will attract "super local", local and regional advertisers wishing to reach a "super local audience" or targeted Zip Code area. This approach combined with basic Internet tracking software will give advertisers the ability to target audiences and measure response.

The "super local" news will be allowed to migrate to the AP but only in print digest form. This is done so that when the "digest" is picked up with the URL visitors will have to go the "super local site" and register to get the full story.

As registration data is collected from "super local users" the marketing value of the site will increase.

 

 

Will publishers, at Internet speed embrace this future?

Will journalists become freelancers ungluing themselves from paper?

Will new players emerge like they did in classifieds and make the new rules that we then have to live with?

Will a big chain paper next door establish "super local journalist/producers" in your franchise area?

Will this be the "killer app" that will grow "super local online advertising" relationships?

Will this be the method to register online news readers and turn a advertising driven business into a direct marketing business?

Will this set the stage for "super local" pay-per-view premium online news services?

 

 

 

Beyond 2003

To me, when all the technology is stripped away, the vision of "super local online news communities" with supporting "super local advertisers" and "a direct marketing universe of registered users", represents what newspapers were created to do in the first place.

These "super local online news communities" will communicate news, information and events to a distinct body of people who want to know what is going on right around the corner in their own immediate community — and advertisers will want to be where the "super local" readers are.

"The world's news industry looks set to start using a new online computer language after it said on Monday it had agreed on a standard for formatting electronic content. The standard, called NewsML, is based on eXtensible Markup Language, or XML, and structures multimedia news so it can be delivered to devices ranging from PCs to mobile phones."

With journalism going increasingly digital -- and with database archives proliferating -- NewsML has been designed to make it easier for news organizations to put together multimedia stories, adapt them, store them and find them again later.

Reuters, July 17, 2000, News industry unveils NewsML net Language

 

What happens beyond 2003 will be impacted by what we do today to redefine our business and how quickly electronic delivery devices such as digital paper and portable readers reach critical mass.

 

This future will also be shaped by how quickly the FSI marketers and the large retailers move online with advertising and registered user customer database building interfaces. Advo and K-Mart have already made considerable investments in online strategies and more will surely follow.

By 2004 roughly half of all Internet ad spending will come from the pockets of the traditional media, and newspapers will be the biggest losers.

Forrester Research

 

I the short term Initiative 2003 could help sell more "papers" in the "super local communities" that have been under-serviced because of the economics of print — but that now can be served via a in print digest guide and a full participatory "super local" news presentation online.

Initiative 2003 in the long term — by 2003 we will have built dozens of small user bases of "super local registered readers". These user databases and "self-organizing super local communities", can then be leveraged to deliver premium "pay-per-view" content/services and database marketing from local, state and national advertisers to our "super local audiences". The "super local" audience is the one we want to own. This forms a foundation to build our twenty-first century communications/marketing business on. A foundation that is designed as the Internet is designed with groups of users gathering around topics that are meaningful and useful to them as individuals. It is this distributed, inclusive and participatory model that will replace the consolidated, exclusive and close-ended model.

When can we start!

I am convinced that the "super local" distributed, inclusive and participatory publishing model is the wave of the future and that implementing it will position us to take advantage of the Internet as it continues to develop over the next three years.

I have been involved with the Internet since 1994. I’ve reinvented myself, and redirected my career. I have watched and learned. I have explored and experienced. I have seen and been subjected to the ups and the downs. I have traveled through two previous Internet publishing efforts and one start-up. At the Journal I have been trusted, and given the opportunity and the freedom to present, implement and evolve my ideas into people building, traffic building and revenue building models.

The next curve is here and I see it — I will not have to play catch up this time if I act now.

I will be most anxious to hear your reaction to this presentation and to quickly work with you to move — at Internet speed — to make this vision a reality by 2003.

Bernard Re, Jr.

 

© 2000 Bernard Re, Jr., Inter-Vitae, Inc.

 

 

 

An Action Plan (October 2000 — June 2001)

 

October 2000 — December 2000

Establish an integrated and consistent brand identity across all existing online products in preparation Initiative 2003 launch sites

Establish a funding/product sales strategy for existing sites and Initiative 2003 launch sites

Introduce "super local sites" news site, portal site strategy and Internet marketing strategy to sales, creative and editorial staffs

Put "New Media Champions" into place to build sales and content for existing site(s) while Initiative 2003 is under development

New Media "Champions" to put into place:

- Creative/Art/Composing with a print to web HTML conversion focus

- New Account Sales with web sales focus

- Advertorial with print to web HTML conversion focus

- Online News Producer with online newspaper news product focus

• Redirect existing technology or secure new technology to implement "super local" news concept

Establish hosting services that will reliably host and serve our news, portal and "super local news community" sites

Register portal name (or redefine existing domain as portal)

 

 

 

December 2000 — April 2001

Develop and launch three "super local" community sites

- Site ONE would be staffed by an in-house journalist/producer. Site would be set up to service an under-serviced community within current the print distribution area

- Site TWO would be staffed by a virtual journalist/producer. Site would be set up to service a community just outside the print distribution area

- Site THREE would be staffed by a virtual journalist/producer. Site would be set up to service a college community outside the print distribution area

 

 

 

 

April 2001 — January 2002

Build-out

- Add or reassign additional "New Media Champions", throughout the company

- Additional personnel may be needed to perform "Web Master" and "Programming" duties if these services are not done by IT Department personnel or by outside hosting, ASP (i.e. Infinet) or contract programming services

- Existing New Media core (SCJ=2) personnel re-focused on portal, e-commerce, web site development and sponsor sites

- Original Online Only Content Editor/Producer (New Media) added

to work on portal, news and community sites. Will write original content, edit print content for online use and coordinate and integrate outside content resources (i.e. AccuWeather, Comics, Everstream, E-thePeople, etc.) with the web sites and "super local neighborhood news sites"

- Web Technician (New Media) added to produce "Special Web Publishing Packages", publish classifieds, and support "New Media Champions" in Art/Composing and Advertorial. This person will also work with and support the "super local neighborhood news site" journalist/producers as well.

- Print/Online News Department Liaison (New Media) added. This person would work with print news staff and the news database to bring news from the print product online in a participatory 7/24 news streaming environment and integrate "super local" news into the print and online news products.

- In-house and virtual "super local journalist/producers" added or reassigned to launch additional "super local community sites" — the goal is to launch twelve "super local community news sites" by January 2002

 

 

 

 

For more information on using this concept at
your publication contact Bernard Re, Jr, at GlobalHome.

© 2002 Inter-Vitae, Inc. GlobalHome is owned and operated by Inter-Vitae, Inc.