Thursday, January 22, 2009

Newspapers and blogs merge in new newspaper vision

While most newspapers are shrinking, and many are folding up all together, an entrepreneur in Chicago is launching his vision of a new kind of newspaper -- one that combines the values of a hard-copy paper with the content style of on-line publications.

The Printed Blog will be a print publication, but will employ a new business model different from traditional newspapers. According to the New York Times, publisher Joshua Karp's newspaper will cull the best of blogs from particular regions, combine that with reader-generated material, and publish may "hyper-local" versions of The Printed Blog.

The first editions are due to appear in Chicago and San Francisco tomorrow (Jan. 23, '09).

To make the paper financially viable, Karp is employing some very non-traditional newspaper-publishing practices:
  • The newspapers will be free;
  • volunteers are trolling and selecting blogs for content;
  • user-generated content such as comments and letters will be placed alongside ads and articles;
  • bloggers are letting Karp excerpt posts for free (in exchange for promotion);
  • rather than using large centralized printing presses with a wide distribution system, Karp in putting individual small presses in the homes of individual distributors, then paying the costs -- that way each edition can be shaped for each specific region, and there are no costs in shipping the papers to each distributor;
  • ads will also be taylored to each micro-local edition.
Karp predicts as many as 50 distinct versions could one day be found in a city the size of Chicago.

The first editions will be weekly, but Karp hopes to go daily -- or even twice daily -- once ad revenues allow.

Check out the New York Times article here.

Visit The Printed Blog here.
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