Another day, another smooth-talking dotcom entrepreneur with big ambitions runs aground trying to build a national hyperlocal site, or network, or something. Jeff Jarvis has studied the matter and concludes:
Continuing the "free AND paid" theme: Do Savannah, our weekly arts and entertainment section, just had a do-over. Effective today it's redesigned and expanded to 40 pages of expert coverage of arts, music, community, movies and food.
Print distribution continues to include all of the Savannah Morning News circulation, but we're adding more than 80 locations where you can pick up a free copy. We're also reworking the website and preparing a Do-specific mobile app, with more to come.
St. Patrick's Day app from Shoutem
Spotted app from Filemobile
I'm big on open standards. I use open-source software almost exclusively. I'm an advocate of HTML5 and responsive layout. And I'm not all that happy with vendors. I'm of the download-and-build persuasion.
Everybody's talking about paid and digital. But Sunday before last, we launched a product that's free, and in print.
Why? Because print still has an important role to play. Because it makes economic sense. And (there's a lesson in this for digital advocates) because one size does not fit all.
We recently relaunched our mobile website at SavannahNow.com without a bit of news on the homepage. Web design tools have come a long way since the days of table-driven layout and smartphones have more processing power than yesterday's desktops, so why did we do this? For simplicity's sake.
In my new job in Savannah, I'm responsible for print as well as digital audience. It's been awhile since I last dealt with print -- I've been working on the digital side since 1994. A lot has changed since then. Today Sean Ruth, our production chief, gave me a look at this:
I wish I could find it -- someone quipped earlier today in my Twitter stream that "there is no business model" for killing print. That's right.
I'm cleaning out my office in prep for a move to Savannah, and finding stuff, as usual.
In the pile: A folder labeled "charging for content." And inside, printouts headlined "Web sites going free-to-fee," "Media General to charge for newspaper web sites; CEO calls free access 'dumb'," "Turning surfers into subscribers" and "If you post it, will they pay?"
The dates? 2000 and 2001.
This is exciting on both personal and professional levels: After more than a decade at Morris Communications' corporate headquarters in Augusta, Ga., I'm moving on to a new challenge as vice president of audience for the Savannah-Bluffton media portfolio.