Citizen Staff Writer
“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
Reform is what’s needed – in the way we speak, think and act. In other words, reform of a bad habit.
That’s because a bad habit is creating a perception problem for the newspaper business.
Oh, there, I did it: called it “the newspaper business”. That’s the bad habit.
A significant problem with the newspaper business is that we keep calling it the newspaper business. It hasn’t been that for quite some time.
Don’t want to give up your daily fix of news and information, including advertising, delivered in an ink-and-newsprint package?
That’s fine, for those who want it that way. For us – I’m on that list – we’ll still print newspapers for a long time.
But for the sake of business, we know that it’s not about the newspaper. It’s about information, regardless of the vehicle.
Thus, we have evolved into a 24/7 service providing local news and information online and zipped through the air to mobile devices. At the same time, we print and deliver a newspaper six days a week.
So you can get it whenever you want, or you can get it via ink-on-newsprint once a day.
The former is the wave of the present and the future, and we’re on the crest of it.
The latter is a three-century-old tradition born of a need to inform and create a democracy. It still has terrific utility.
We are moving on both fronts to continue bringing you the fastest and best-presented news and information about Tucson.
Here is what that is getting in the “newspaper business” as manifest by the Tucson Citizen:
• A declining print circulation, but a growing number of people reading the newspaper. Scarborough Research, an independent organization that measures media use across the country, reported past-week reach of the Citizen was 105,500 adults from February 2007 to January 2008.
Past-week reach is the number of people who said they read it the week before they were surveyed. Our readership thus is second best among all Tucson media outlets, including TV, radio and other publications.
• A burgeoning online audience attracted to the second-busiest local media Web site. The week of May 19, tucsoncitizen.com set a record for weekly traffic. That record was broken last week, and last week’s record is being broken this week.
For the first five months of 2008, tucsoncitizen.com traffic rose 14 percent from the same period one year ago and 25 percent over two years. That’s substantive, sustained growth.
The naysayers cry that the “newspaper business” is old and tottering toward death. The bad habit of calling it that misses the bigger picture.
The information business is just past toddler stage and roaring toward adolescence. We have a long life ahead of us.
Reform with us. We’re dropping the bad habit of what we call ourselves; you should, too. Happy reading, whatever your chosen format.
Reach Michael A. Chihak at 573-4646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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