Outing looks at what’s wrong with newspaper.com operations

A few days ago, Steve Outing put out a call for newspaper new media executives to share their insiders view on the key things newspapers are not doing. Here’s the resulting column.

Nothing, I would say, too surprising — too many decisions driven by print revenue concerns, editors who remain clueless about online, not enough programmers and complaints about pay walls.

When I look around the industry, I would add: We’re not doing a good job yet at building connections between people; and with only a few exceptions, not enough video.

Sometimes I get a sense that there is this large group of newspaper publishers who operate under the notion: “OK, we’ve got a Web site. Now I’ve done my innovative duty and I can get back to fretting over circulation and classifieds.” And that Web site hasn’t changed since 1998. Surf around to a few dozen newspaper.coms. It’s real obvious which sites are ghettos of shovelware.

I saw a video recently where Laura Rich Fine (tangentially related link, because I can’t find a bio page for Laura) talked about the need for newspapers to start spending more money on technology. I think Wall Street is ready for newspapers to cut into revenue growth and profit margins, if necessary, to fund innovation. And for a privately held company, there’s no excuse.

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