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6.1.1. From the newspapers standpoint, how can they compete with new media?

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One of the biggest challenges that lies ahead for the newspapers is the way they can compete with new media in the long term. The main solution for the traditional press in Switzerland is their contents. This deduction is very logical. Newspapers will not be able to compete in fields like accessibility or speed. With the technology progressing every day a little further, the gap in those areas between new media and newspapers will only grow bigger.

On the contrary in the field of contents newspapers can be competitive. As stated the print papers hold the advantage of having more time to edit their contents. This must be used to create articles of quality that help the readers with commentaries, explanations and opinions. To resume have a real journalistic work behind the text and not just telegrams from agencies quickly modified.

Newspapers have to offer contents that new media can offer only with great difficulty. The goal is to create a need by the consumer that cannot be fulfilled by the new media. There is a precision to make though. When new media is mentioned it is not new media that is an extension of a newspaper title. What is meant here under new media is media that were created based on no previous entity. This type of new media in Switzerland does not always have the financial and human resources to create quality contents.

In order to change these contents, newspapers have to change the culture that rules the media market nowadays where a lot of people expect information for free. A lot of newspapers in Switzerland offer a large part of their articles on-line for free. This is obviously a problem. The dilemma is that they cannot afford not to do it because then consumers of information will simply go elsewhere to get the news they are looking for. The editors in Switzerland have a responsibility to unite together in order to rethink their strategy regarding new media. If everybody can reach to an agreement and decide that those contents have to be paid for it will then greatly help newspapers in the future. Additionally they have to study more their readership. They have to know them better so they can offer the contents that they are asking for.

This should not be done to influence editorial contents but to propose them in ways that are appreciated by the public so they continue to buy the product. The book Mieux connaître ses lecteurs. Méthodes d’analyse(46) by François Kermoal and Valérie Migata proposes different solutions to help in that matter.

These additional resources can then be allocated to improve the quality of the contents. That and the fact that people understand that quality information has a cost could help lead to newspapers selling more copies and have repercussions on the advertising as well. Advertisers would be willing to come back from new media to newspapers if they can reach a large audience. Of course this is a simplified view of the problem of the newspapers, because they have other difficulties. But this is central and it seems that it is the best way to compete with new media in the future.

46 Kermoal and Migata

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