Posts Tagged ‘Newspaper’

Printing Press

Newspaper Printing Press

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, our daily lives include more decisions that make an impact on the earth.

At the grocery checkout, should you ask for a paper bag or plastic bag? Or have you brought your reusable bag?

Should you bike to work, take the car or catch the bus?

What can you compost or recycle?

Here’s an environmental decision you may never have considered before: Should you read the newspaper or read the news online?

A press release from Alma Media details results from a study it carried out with research institutes. The study compared the environmental impact of its three printed newspapers versus their online equivalents. It turns out that it is difficult to compare the two mediums because they are used and evaluated so differently. As well, each medium has different environmental issues to take into consideration.

The study showed that when comparing the environmental impact based on one hour of consumption (i.e. reading the news), the printed newspaper was more eco-friendly. But when comparing the environmental impact based on total usage and consumption hours, digital news was more environmentally-friendly.

It is interesting to note that for printed newspapers, much of the environmental impact takes place before the newspaper reaches the consumer. This includes the production of the paper, printing process and newspaper delivery. Compare this to online news, where much of the environmental impact occurs during the production of the devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, mobile phones) on which the news is read.

Kudos should go to Alma Media for undertaking this study as it is now incorporating measures it can take in its two new facilities to reduce its environmental footprint. Hopefully, more news organizations will take heed. Some news organizations currently implement sustainable practises such as using recycled paper, using eco-friendly ink, and incorporating recycling efforts during the printing process. Overall, it would do the news industry some good to build awareness of these efforts and keep environmentally-conscious consumers happy.

What do you think? Do you consider the environment in your decision on how you stay up-to-date with the news?

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The newspaper industry is changing around the world, as readers migrate from reading a printed product to consuming the news on their mobile, desktop or tablet. This shift has dealt newspaper owners with the task of  working with the demand for digital news while keeping a healthy profit margin. What threatens profits is the fact that revenue from digital advertising does not bring in the same revenue that print advertising brought in during previous years. The industry has had to develop new revenue models in order to survive. An example of a new revenue model established by some newspaper organizations is the paywall, where readers are charged for access to online news content.

What other new revenue models can help the industry?

On Digg, I found an intriguing article from McGarr Solicitors in Ireland that showed a new revenue model for the newspaper industry that I have never seen before. It could be called revolutionary by some, or protectionist by others. What caught my attention was the controversy that surrounds the model. The Irish newspaper industry is demanding that links to news stories from their websites belonged to them, and that ” … they had the right to set the rates for those links…” should they be used by others. Further, the industry is pushing for unauthorized linking to be declared illegal. McGarr’s article shows an example where a women’s charity was advised to purchase a licence for a newspaper link it made on its website. It’s worth mentioning that the link was to a story that spoke of some of the positive work the charity group had made.

Ironically, none of the Irish newspapers has mentioned any of this in its news stories.

As emphasized in Rohit Bhargava’s 5 New Rules of Social Media Optimization, social media should “Make sharing easy”. If the Irish newspaper industry restricts this sharing, it also misses out on the benefits of social media that include branding, relationship-building with readers, establishing itself as the news authorities, to name a few.

I can somewhat empathize with the industry’s potential arguement that charging for link-sharing will help offset the costs of paying for the industry’s journalists. It could be argued that these educated and experienced journalists bring editorial integrity and value to the news industry. Unfortunately, what the Irish newspaper industry is ignoring is the irreparable damage from the massive online community that will simply find its news elsewhere. For free.

If you were part of the Irish newspaper industry, what would be your next steps?