Newspapers in Ireland – Bits from a presentation

I gave a talk as Conchango last Friday on the present and future of newspapers. (oh and Tom wants a free link to his blog). Nobody remembers what I said exactly as I hid my lack of insight by using XKCD comic strips in each slide to distract them. (Never fails to work)

Google Trends now allows you to see rough site visit information (though many think the data can be way out) but again it’s good for rough estimates. If you log into it you can see the numbers as per the screencaps. If you click the images you’ll see better versions of the images.

Here’s a Trends screencap of visitors to the main Irish Newspaper sites.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

Oddly, the Examiner’s Breaking News website gets more visits than their main site. I’m sure the fact the Examiner couldn’t stick with a name or a single website address didn’t help either.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

Now, when you throw in RTE’s website, it shows who the daddy is for online news. Newspapers I hope are starting to realise that they can’t rely just on print alone now for distribution.
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

As I keep on saying and giving out about, they also need to go where the younger generation are going and that’s not a single place anymore. Here’s Newspapers, RTE and Bebo in a graph and this is Irish usage not worldwide usage. Look at all the Irish on Bebo, look at the number visiting the Irish Examiner site:
Irish newspapers on Google Trends

From my perspective:

Current state of Irish newspapers

  • Losing readership. Print revenue down. Charges going up. Becoming more tabloid to get/retain marketshare.
  • Screwing existing journos with less fulltime contracts, getting rid of sub-editors, outsourcing, less resouces. Turnaround time is minutes or hours NOT days.
  • Their journos are lifting stories right, left and centre from blogs. From images to copying and pasting whole blog posts.
  • Associated Press in bed with Google. Google News top story linking to AP headline, not headlines of Boston Globe, National or Local papers.

Blogger Threat

Bloggers are a threat because:

  • Breaking news more.
  • Sources going to bloggers. Sources trust the “real” bloggers more these days.
  • Blogs have better SEO.

What are the Newspapers doing right?

  • Dropping paywalls
  • Making a go of SEO
  • Allowing social bookmarking
  • Allowing comments
  • Bringing their own blogs online
  • Feeds for every section

More is needed

  • Add feeds for each journalist/columnist
  • Heavily exploit email
  • Bebo and Facebook Widgets
  • Distribution API –> Wherever the cool kids hang

Future changes

Aggregate, edit, distribute

  • Newspapers still bastions of balance and quality (for now)
  • A newspaper should promote good work, no matter the source and with it encourage good blogging
  • Finding news sources, journalists, bloggers.
  • Each newspaper should be like AP, offering every article up
  • This will need a full blown API for stock purchase and distribution

Changing work

  • All news is breaking news, people no longer wait for the paper
  • All newspapers need to be media orgs, integration?
  • 3 hour radio shows are now 24/7 websites and direct competitors. Remember that.
  • In order to crowdsource, reporting material needs to be shared
  • A DIGG for each paper?
  • Journalists need to share what they are looking at and ask for help – Help a Reporter

12 Responses to “Newspapers in Ireland – Bits from a presentation”

  1. That is really good… I didn’t think you had it in you;-)

  2. Darragh says:

    Excellent post. Lot of opportunities there for bloggers to get involved too.

  3. Tom Hopkins says:

    Thanks Damian,

    Unfortunately the server didn’t melt down as promised but very nice of you to link to me, and very nice to meet you in London. I hope you enjoyed interesting. Hope you also saw XKCD today.

  4. […] Irish newspapers now and ahead Posted in Future of journalism, Irish Media by Blathnaid Healy on June 23rd, 2008 Damien Mulley shares some of thoughts on the current state of play and what’s ahead here […]

  5. paulSweeney says:

    Super super post. And Free.

  6. Richard says:

    Super post. Of course it also brings into question whether Google should be making all this data available in the first place. Not to mention that we cant be 100% sure of how accurate it is – remember this is a Google Labs product, and they specifically state that the data is rough.

    But the thought behind this is top notch. Pinged a few people who might be really interested…

  7. […] Damien, I tried out Google Trends for in comparison to the two main Irish newspaper […]

  8. […] should be interesting, especially in the context of this piece by Damien Mulley! […]

  9. Colm says:

    Tom gets a link but i dont?

    Thanks for coming in.

  10. Damien says:

    I’m miffed that it took you this long to complain. I had expected minutes before the comment… 🙂

  11. […] to talk to us about the effect blogging was having on newspapers in Ireland. It was an interesting presentation, although – for me at least – the most interesting thing was Damien’s passion for what […]

  12. […] for Cian Ginty. Yes droves. Like I said before. When I said newspaper readership was going down and you pointed out how wrong I was by pointing to declining readerships** of the Indo and the […]