As I mentioned at length in my post about the homeless and the future of newspapers, the old media companies are struggling. While discussing my theory with friend and tv news reporter Nick McGurk, he pointed me to this video, which focuses on ways entrepreneurs are trying to save and shape the future of news-gathering aggregates and newspapers.
In particular, I was struck with the story of the guy who took blog posts, printed them out, and then handed them out at the train stations. It was an idea that was very similar to that of having the homeless hand out newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and New York Times for free, though the content was not the same. Still, the entrepreneur brought up an idea in regards to advertising that I had not considered.
In my opinion, the idea of hyper-local advertising, that is, extremely specific, targeted ads, down to specific train stations, is genius, even if it’s an idea rough around the edges. The ability for companies to target people who are predisposed to spending money with them is something that newspapers and other media organizations at this time struggle to do. Think about how valuable it would be for the shoe store 3 blocks from your train station to put a coupon into a paper that is given to people near their store, but not across town, thus saving them money and creating a more effective advertising campaign.
It’s another idea for newspapers to kick around. As you can tell, I’m not ready to give up on them for good. I think there is still a future for the paper, and in the print form too, but they need to figure out how. Thinking outside of the box, like in the video above, is the way to do it.
If you’re interested in what’s happening in the media world, head over to Jim Romenesko’s Poynter Online Blog.