Pason Gaddis, founder of the Florida Weekly, was in charge of leading a session on the future of newspapers and what kind of readership model is working well for his publication. Since this is a topic that I have already heard about from others, I was interested in hearing Gaddis’ opinion.
And I was slightly disappointed. Gaddis spent the first half hour of the session talking about different social media websites and how they have changed the way people communicate, are entertained and spend their time. I didn’t understand why he devoted half an hour to talking to room full of journalism students (or college students in general, for that matter) about the social media platforms that we use day after day, hour after hour. In all fairness, I think he was trying to paint a picture of how these tools have changed the way people consume media, but it just seemed like overkill and besides the point of the session.
When Gaddis did get to the part about the future of newspapers, he stressed a few points about what kinds of things successful newspaper models will implement:
- The publication needs to have content people aren’t getting anywhere else.
- Keep it local, local, local. Don’t dedicate inches to national content people are reading in The New York Times.
- Find out what they’re not getting on their Facebook pages and hammer that down.
- People want to read feature and in-depth content (on issues that are relevant to them).
So none of these points were really anything we haven’t heard in journalism classes before. But, I still always do enjoy hearing people share their personal ideas about the future of this industry I plan to enter.