April 2009

Media Move Online as Economy Batters Print

This month, after 100 years, the Christian Science Monitor is expected to print its last paper edition and move to an “online only” format.  It’s an evolution 400 years in the making.  The world’s first newspaper was published in Strassburg in 1605.  Since then, the basic concept of the newspaper has remained words on paper.

A few services offered some news content online in the 80s, but it was very limited, the download speeds were ridiculously slow and their graphics were … let’s just say “not great.”  Then in the 1990s the Internet emerged as a general consumer tool and changed everything, with newspapers and magazines putting some of their content online.

In the second generation, newspapers started adding original online content.  In the last few years, we’ve seen blogs added to newspaper sites, audio podcasts, and as download speeds have increased, even streaming video.

Atlanta’s Business to Business magazine is a great example.  The magazine existed for a decade as a print product, with the web just a place to find a few contacts and maybe some advertising information.  That changed dramatically recently as the site morphed into a real companion to the print magazine.  Not simply offering the same print stories that are in the magazine, the site provides additional content daily, allowing the editors to keep up with breaking news.

But in addition to media moving from print to the Internet, we’ve seen the birth of online only media outlets at the national level, like Salon.com and The Drudge Report.  We’ve also seen the same thing at the local level here in Atlanta, with sites like www.hometowndekalb.com and www.decaturelife.net.

Other great local examples include AccessAtlanta.com, the online version of the AJC’s print version of the same name, AroundtheRings.com, an Olympic-focused web site created by Ed Hula, Atlanta’s only full time Olympic reporter.  Others include GwinnettForum.com, AtlantaBuzz.com, DailyCandy.com, Decatur E-Life, and elifemagazine.com.

Moving online offers media outlets a way to keep publishing without the high costs of production and distribution.  But other challenges emerge: how to charge for advertising and subscriptions chief among them.

Moves & News

Associated Press – Christina Almeida joined the Atlanta bureau as News Editor.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Changes continue at Atlanta’s daily paper.  Michael Gray became Sunday editor for arts, entertainment and lifestyles. Colleen McMillar became an editor in the sports/features group.  Also, Holly Crenshaw moved to obituaries and Donna Lewis to the general assignment desk.  Some other major news included Cox news closing its DC bureau and former editorial page editor Durwood McAllister passed away at the age of 81.

Atlanta Tribune – The magazine’s December ‘08/January ‘09 double issue featured President-elect Barack Obama on the cover with the theme “The Year of Change.”  The magazine held its 5th Annual Diversity Roundtable in January with diversity experts addressing the question: “How far have we come since Dr. King?”

DarynKagan.com – If you haven’t been to Daryn Kagan’s site (www.darynkagan.com) you’ve got to check it out.  Kagan is a former CNN anchor who left the network a few years ago.  She describes her site as “an inspirational online community that features a daily Web cast of stories that, “Show the World What is Possible.”

GlobalAtlanta – David Beasley joined as a reporter.  Beasley was formerly an editorial page editor with the AJC.

Morris News Service – Cutbacks this month at the Atlanta bureau.  Copy editor David Lundy, John Winters, and Jake Armstrong were let go.  Brandon Larrabee transfered to Tallahassee to cover the state capital for Morris papers in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

Departures

  • 20 South magazine has gone out of business.
  • Atlanta Peach – The magazine ceased publication.

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