Mary Lou Fulton from the Bakersfield Californian, which seems to me to be one of the very few citizen journalism projects that isn’t just vapourware, has some very interesting things to say about newspapers on the subject Will “We Media” save the newspaper? over at Morph. One thing she says:
The 7-day subscriber is the lifeblood of the newspaper industry. We count these subscribers obsessively and spend an increasing amount of money trying to woo more of them. Meanwhile, over on the Internet, we also have customers, sometimes in larger numbers than in print. Some of us have web registration systems that show the overlap between print and online, but these two mediums are largely stovepiped. Consumers today use multiple products and multiple platforms for information. Maybe the subscriber of the future only gets the weekend paper and gets customized e-mail content plus SMS text alerts from us during the week? How do we transition away from the 7-day subscriber mentality and orient our product design and sales processes around more fluid kinds of consumer scenarios?
Absolutely, and something that rarely gets mentioned in all this talk of a fluid, participatory media. Without staggeringly flexible and sophisticated back-end subscriber databases and printing facilities and billing mechanisms and advertising fulfillment, a lot of this stuff is going to remain in the hot-air file.