Monday, March 30, 2009


As they taught us in grad school, always question your own assumptions.

A fine example from today. In our Local section, our center piece was a 'blog scrape' from our CEO’s blog where he reports that he found a Facebook page where local college kids posted things they missed about Bakersfield. Actually kind of fun and tied into our sister-products version of March-Madness where local icons went head to head in brackets.

The problem is, how many of our readers took their paper over to their computer, logged on and typed in the log address to take a look. I wonder... My educated guess is that we have two distinct audiences: a digital one and a print one. DO WE assume that there is crossover, do we have proof that readers do this?

Let’s suppose that a reader, me, for example went and did this. Sadly, the center piece could not be found on, I could go to our CEO’s blog, but the post the packages referred to I could not find on this quickly, and if you know anything about Facebook, you have to be a member to log in and then search for this page.

So, what have we done today?

We assumed print readers care about Facebook and social networks (which they might), we have assumed people will use their paper to visit the internet, and if we really did believe that, we have now frustrated them because they can’t get to the original content/posting easily.

good news:

The Huff-post announced plans to fund long-form and investigative journalism on the web.

of interest:

One of our former staffers has started a blog where she discusses in detail many of the decisions TBC made in migrating to the web.


DZF said...

Good thinking about assumptions. We all know what they make out of us. But why not go the second mile and find out whether there is crossover? For instance, go out on the street and start surveying people at news stands and paper boxes when they pick up a paper. It might not only be an interesting story, it might help the management see what direction to go in?

Michael Fagans said...

I would agree DZF. I think we need to survey both online and our paper readers to see. Not sure if efforts in that direction would be looked at as helpful or "not your job" but I could certainly ask.