The ‘next generation’ of business news

It’s no secret that the newspaper industry has undergone enormous change in the past two decades. Readership habits have changed dramatically, with the Web, social media, blogs, email, tablets and mobile devices altering how readers obtain and consume information.

Personally, I consume news constantly and from a variety of media: print, Web, my iPad and iPhone. I frequent a number of social-media sites, both to obtain news and ideas, and also to relay the same.

Print publications of all types — from daily newspapers to monthly magazines, weekly newspapers to biweeklies — have sought to maintain a viable and healthy print business while taking advantage of the immediacy and convenience of delivery of content via the Web and mobile devices.

Business journals such as the Boulder County Business Report, the Northern Colorado Business Report and the Wyoming Business Report — owned by BizWest Media LLC — always are seeking to innovate, not only online but also in their print publications.

Elsewhere, readers around the country have been seeing a new concept from American City Business Journals, publishers of the Denver Business Journal and dozens of other weekly business journals. That redesign includes an in-depth cover story on a topic of interest to the business community. Inside pages are dedicated to specific industries, with reporters making a connection with the print audience.

Other, non-ACBJ publications also have been engaging in redesigns to best serve their audience.

At our three publications, print revenue is up, though not at the levels of 2006 or 2007. We still see a large majority of readers who value and use the print publication, either supplementing what they get from us online or in place of it. But we also are looking for how our print products can best serve our readers. We are about to undertake not just a redesign but also a “rethinking” of the role of our print publications in this new era.

As part of that effort, we will be conducting focus groups in the Boulder Valley, Northern Colorado and Wyoming to help determine what our audiences find valuable (and what they don’t). What are we doing well? What are we not doing well, or not doing at all? How should print interact with our constant online offerings of breaking business news?

We will supplement those focus groups with surveys, social-media conversations and polling. In the end, our editorial staffs will have to take the input, interpret it and come up with ideas for our own “next generation of business journals.”

These efforts also will help us to plan the next generation of our Web, tablet and mobile offerings.

All of this will coalesce into a redesign for our publications and online products. What will be the result? Our hope and expectation is that it will be print publications that maximize the value of the medium while also fully exploiting the potential of online, social and mobile delivery of news and information.

Want to be involved in one of our focus groups? Shoot me an email at the address below. It’s going to be exciting.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or via email at cwood@bcbr.com.


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