But it’s not necessarily problematic that many staff members who work “at least some of the time” for the Web don’t have Web experience. Many, if not most, newspaper reporters and editors work “at least some of the time” for the online product. If you look at what they are doing, though, you’ll find that many, if not most, are doing very little that requires much, if any, prior Web experience—writing news stories and updates, captions, producing photo galleries, blogging, etc. I suspect the same thing occurs in magazines. For people who work in more Web-technical areas, coding, interface development, multimedia reporting and production, Web experience would be much more important.

— John Russial

I found the article’s discussion of mission, or mission statement, perhaps the most interesting. It’s such a simple thing, most online writers or editors are likely to take it for granted. Whether transitioning from print media to online media, or conducting research or journalism between the two, the mission really must adapt. The medium is different, which means the models and methods for production and delivery are different, the way your audience absorbs (and processes) information is different, and the shelf life of your research and information is vastly changed as well.

Merely overlooking or even refusing to adjust or adapt a mission/purpose statement will be the source much indecisiveness and insecurity for editors and publishers.

— Aaron B.

Sweeteners Leave Sour Taste

On Monday, Ryan Chittum of The Audit took note of some data in the latest earnings report from Scripps to argue that the online advertising picture is even bleaker than it looks, because “a very large percentage of [newspapers’] online ads come from people who advertise in the print edition and are given online ads as a sweetener or ‘upsell.’”

But seriously, on-topic: “up-selling” isn’t limited to on-line ads. You also have the phenomenon of existing newsprint publications spinning off other, similar newsprint and/or glossy things for perceived niche markets. Any content therein is most often provided by existing editorial and production staff, and any and all ad-selling is accomplished by existing sales staff. Voila! “New revenue.”

— edward ericson

I am one of a hand full of newspaper classified industry experts. And yes, what the Scripps report says is true; however, it is not some dirty secret nor any accounting trick.

This is all part of the transition of print to Web. When newspaper classifieds first started online, it was hard to convince any advertiser of the value of the Internet. It was too new and many advertisers just did not understand it.

So at first, in order to get print advertisers interested in online, we offered the “upsell”—sometimes free, sometimes for a minimal price or sometimes included in a package price. This slowly got print advertisers used to the online products. Now it is starting to reverse, whereby we are selling online with a “print” upsell.

As long as there are print subscribers, the combined package is ace for the advertiser as they get the best of both worlds and a whole lot more eyeballs seeing their message. However, in almost every scenario I have worked with, customers can request just one or the other, but rarely do.

Behind the scenes “accounting” for this revenue is merely a reflection of the classified front-end system’s ability, or sometimes inability, to parse out the ads to different online and print products and then to the accounting interface. The more sophisticated the front-end system, the easier it is to parse out the revenue into the correct buckets.

— Janet DeGeorge

The Editors