Driving readers online: update

An update and correction to the post below: I just heard from Ed Roussel, editorial director of the Telegraph group, who says it’s not true that his paper will delay stories until after publication in print. In fact, he said, they have already shifted people to earlier schedules to get news out sooner. They are not trying to put every story online before print (which is where the Guardian is apparently headed) but they are free to put up anything short of a big scoop they want to save (which will be the same for everyone).

How did this meme start? He said at the World Association of Newspapers session in Moscow, there was discussion about content management systems and the ability to schedule publication to the web and it grew out of that. So they’re playing wack-a-mole on the tale now.

While I had him, I asked Ed whether the Telegraph has plans to invade America, like the Guardian and the Times of London. He said no. “The reality is that we want to do the best possible job of writing for our readers and the core of our readership is British people,” which includes expats. He said they already had a third of their online readership is in the U.S. And he said that the track record of British companies making a go of it in America is limited.

: LATER: More from Shane Richmond at the Telegraph about this.

  • Pingback: BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Driving readers online()

  • Ed,

    Don’t worry about pushing the Telegraph to America, it’s far more likely we’ll pull it to America. With on-line publishing there is no problem with distribution other than that put into place by people. An electronic periodical doesn’t have to be delivered, it is called for instead.

  • Mr. Jarvis –

    Far from a daily… at the AAPG we publish our peer-reviewed journal well ahead of the issuance of the printed/mailed. We’ve coupled the push/pull or readership with RSS to draw the readers in in such a way as to be non-obtrusive. If they don’t want the RSS… just unsubscribe… none of the opt-in, opt-out baloney. If they decide later they really DID want the RSS they come back. Totally on their terms.

    We went from printing 19,000+ to fewer than 7,000 with no appreciable dent or blow-back from our membership and saved a ton of money we’re pumping into other programs around the association.

    Gerald in Tulsa

  • Please allow me to go slightly off-topic for a moment, but I promise it’ll come full circle.

    The issue of newspapers’ content management systems and their ability to publish on a schedule isn’t a trivial one; in fact, I’d say that a large part of papers’ inability to join the blogosphere in discussion overall has as much to do with MSM snobbery as does the fact that most papers have inflexible CMSes that couldn’t handle the change even if they wanted to.

    One solution is to look at the work being done by open source CMS makers (disclosure, my organization produces a web CMS for news organizations), who are actually working on creating platforms that allow publishers to make these decisions based on merit and strategy, not just on what they can afford to do with their current platform.

    In this way, removing technological ‘barriers to entry’ for publishers becomes that much more important as we go forward. Every publisher is going to have a different strategy on when they publish; the real trick is to let them do so without having to invest massive amounts to make the changes necessary, and to also allow them to change course if it turns out their decision wasn’t correct.