I was just thinking that it's been awhile since I saw a news story that had people talking about how it had legitimized the Internet as a news medium. For years it seemed that every big story stirred that kind of talk. Two early ones that come to mind are the 1997 Heaven's Gate cult suicide (at the Star Tribune we copied the entire Heaven's Gate website as part of online news coverage) and the 1998 Starr report (hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the full text).
I'm in Reston, Va., waiting for my turn in front of the room at the American Press Institute. The seminar is "Internet strategies for community markets." Gordon Borrell is up right now and is pointing out the inherent weakness of one-note news sites, citing Pew research that says the "yesterday market" -- the people who went online yesterday seeking local news -- is 9 percent at best, while there are many other things to do online.
He's so right.
The latest from Pew: 48 million Americans have posted content to the Internet. The majority of them are broadband users, and broadband penetration jumped by 40 percent between March 2005 and March 2006. Significantly, broadband penetration in households with income between $40,000 and $50,000 grew by 68 percent.
Editors, please listen. If you're not rethinking your entire content strategy around participative principles, you're placing your future at risk.
I've been noodling on a list of megatrends that present megachallenges for newspapers. What am I missing?