Can newspapers cut the jump to save the planet

by Shawn Smith on October 15, 2007

How can newspaper journalists participate in blog action day? Save some paper and blog, like I am doing regarding newspaper jumps:

Ever had to push an article to a jump because it was too long to fit in it’s rightful space?

How many people do you think read the rest of the story? Do readers thumb through print pages to keep reading the same story, or do they find something else to read on the page they’re already on? If we eliminated jump text, thus saving printed pages and trees required to make those pages, would readers notice?

Despite Poynter’s research, the Readership Institute is convinced readers loathe continued stories. I’m not convinced I like them myself.

Should newspapers drop the jump altogether?

Certainly not. Many readers enjoy getting the “rest of the story.” A lot of stories require extended text to give readers the full breadth of an issue. But why don’t more publications use their websites to house the jumped text?

This might provide revenue opportunities, where readers can get the jist of stories and then go online with their subscription logins to read the remainder of the story that doesn’t contain anything that would significantly alter the point of the article. I learned at 2006′s ONA conference that the ESPN Insider model has been successful for the online sports site – where the site offers a snippet of interesting content and requires users to buy a subscription to read the rest of the story.

Could news sites replicate the feat?

Online subscription fees have been beaten to death as a bad idea, but it does work for ESPN.

Getting slimmer can save more trees

Pushing more extended text online could slim down the pages needed to print all the text in a newspaper, thus saving more trees – a big concern among environmentalists

Jeff Jarvis writes that some environmentalists are working to shed light on how damaging the proliferation of free papers are on the tree population. I believe the following question of his was written sarcastically, but he reveals an interesting statistic:

Why stop there? How much newsprint do all the newpapers in the world use? According to this Berkeley site, 37.8 million tons in 2001. At 12 trees per ton, that’s 453 million trees.

Don’t downsize the paper, change it

Newspapers don’t need to cut all the content and put it online. But with all the recent buzz about journalists’ duty to buy newspapers, some bloggers suggest that newspapers could change their distribution methods to offer subscribed readers only the sections they want to read. (If you’re one of those bloggers, let me know so I can link you). If subscribers only received the print sections they wanted to read, that could significantly trim the number of pages printed and could help newspapers better serve their circulation.

Those sections can then point readers to the online product to get the rest of their news. Online is where papers will see the two-way conversation flourish, and writers can gain feedback to their jumped stories.

Also, people without internet connections could subscribe to the “jump-included” version of the print edition.

Altering the way newspapers are distributed and putting the jumped text online could possibly spur a greater interaction between the paper and its readership.

What do you think? Can cutting the jump and changing the way newspapers are distributed help readers and help the planet?

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BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Will paper kill the papers?
February 13, 2008 at 2:10 am

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