A news dilemma

I was training a team recently that had a news dilemma.

They are a consumer specialist weekly going out to an older readership and they are about to launch a website.

News is huge part of the print publication. They have one major print competitor and, because of their subject matter, their news often gets picked up by the nationals.

So far so good. Here’s the problem: they’ve got a 10-day lead time; for their competitor it’s only 3 days. So if they break their news stories on the web, they stand to lose out when it comes to print.

That is no good for the core readership, many of whom are loyal subscribers, who probably don’t use the web. So the publication can’t just shift the news operation online. And its a one-person news team.They can’t run two news operations.

What to do?

It’s a tricky one since the web is the natural home for news.  I suggested they approach news differently on the web and create a news presence there that is more personal, more gossipy and a result of the newsgathering that goes on in any case.

Writing for the web should be about taking advantage of what the media has to offer that’s different than print. It’s never a good idea to create a website that is a pale imitation of a print publication. But often, as in this case, it’s not straightforward.

What would you suggest?

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