WSJ Still Thrives in Tough Times

18 07 2010

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As we have already discovered, traditional media are searching for new techniques to engage their audiences to offset low readership and circulation (newspapers and magazines). Most of these media end up finding social media to be the answer, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is no different. Except the WSJ requires readers to subscribe for a monthly fee (unless they want to pay the yearly subscription in whole) to access all of their content, so how is the WSJ using social media to engage their audience?

Well for one, the WSJ has a blogs page that is free for anyone to read and share via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and nearly any other social media channel. They also have a very comprehensive Facebook page that incorporates their blogs, streams their Twitter feed, and offers other news stories for free. Their Journal Community allows readers to connect with other people and discuss topics. Honestly, I had trouble finding content that I actually had to pay for! So what exactly are subscribers paying for? Well they receive updated news alerts, access to their online markets data center, printed journals 6 days a week, and an iPhone or Blackberry app if they subscribe to both online and print journals. But do you think the WSJ offers enough perks to convince people to subscribe?

With 414,00 paid subscribers for online content and an over all circulation of 2.1 million, the WSJ leads the pack as the most widely circulated newspaper. The WSJ has actually felt a slight increase in circulation while other newspapers struggle with declining circulation numbers. Some have said that the WSJ demonstrates the proper way to use a pay wall and still find readers willing to pay for newspaper content. Although some bloggers have condoned the WSJ for their social media policy, it appears as though the newspaper has embraced social media strategically and appropriately.

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Even though you can access most of the WSJ’s content for free and share via your social media of choice, I still believe the newspapers quality reputation gives readers a valid reason to subscribe. In fact, all this talk about the WSJ really makes me wish I still had a subscription! What do you think?


Magazines Joining the Conversation

8 07 2010

So far it appears as though social media can be a tool that either makes or breaks traditional media and this is no different with magazines. It’s no secret that magazines have been hit hard by the recession and low circulation, but some magazines are turning to new media for help. Among such magazines are Lapham’s Quarterly and Seventeen.

Take one look at Lapham’s Quarterly website and it will not take long to realize they have embraced social media. The magazine uses Twitter, Facebook, and podcasts to keep this historically themed magazine in tact with current conversations. Check out their Twitter page and you can see how they join in on conversations by taking historical events or dates and appropriately put them into modern context. Their Facebook page allows them to post relevant articles and hear what people are saying about them. Since Lapham’s Quarterly is only published 4 times a year (obviously), the magazine uses social media to keep their audience engaged between magazines and to cost-effectively market subscriptions.

Other than selling subscriptions, Seventeen Magazine has been utilizing social media to incorporate advertisers and tap into their audience’s conversations in an effort to improve content. The magazine allows advertisers to pay to jump in on their conversations but Seventeen makes it clear to advertisers that they are granted this opportunity to build their brand, not to sell a product. The magazine uses Facebook to listen in on their audience and hear what they want from the magazine. Sometimes they will ask questions, offer exclusive subscription rates, or just see what people are talking about. Their Youtube channel gives the magazine video content that even further engages their audience. Whatever the case, magazines like Seventeen can enjoy some benefits by conversing online through new media.

With magazine readership and circulation rates on the decline, social media offers a whole new platform for experiencing magazines. New media allows participants to share content with their friends and indirectly promote the magazine by retweeting or posting links, but will this be enough to save the magazine industry? Do you think magazines will soon only be offered in an online format? If so, when? Are you subscribed to a magazine that offers online content? If so, what do you think about it?

(Here is where I was going to embed a youtube video from Seventeen’s channel but I realized they are not relevant and there is no point in making you suffer through one of those videos!)

Associated Press Associates with Social Media

2 07 2010

Even in 2010, some traditional news sources still do not understand the importance of adopting social media. But as the primary news gathering agency in the United States, the Associated Press (AP) is far from behind in the social media game. Not only have they utilized multiple Twitter accounts for particular current events (including the World Cup) , but they also offer podcasts, a YouTube channel, and an up-to-date Facebook page. Clearly someone at AP is taking social journalism seriously.

And that person would be Lauren McCollough. She was recently promoted as the Social Networks and News Engagement Manager at AP and provided some insight in an e-mail interview with Steve Myers. According to McCollough, the audience for news is still alive but news agencies need to adapt to their new expectations and join in 2-way conversation. AP has demonstrated this on their Facebook page where they encourage followers to discuss stories and provide input by asking questions.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of AP’s social media strategy is their extensive use of Twitter. If someone just wants tweets concerning healthcare, then they can simply follow @AP/healthcarebeatteam. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, AP had different Twitter accounts for every sport! More recently AP has been using @AP_Courtside to follow Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and other relevant stories happening in the Supreme Court. By creating all these specific Twitter accounts, AP is able to reach niche audience and consistently participate in the online buzz.

The extent to which AP uses Twitter is fascinating and intriguing. But is it possible that their focus on social media is hindering the effectiveness of their reporting? Do you think this transition into social media has forced companies like AP to move resources out of the reporting field and into the social media world? After reading this article, will you follow AP on Twitter or “like” the AP page on Facebook? Your comments are helpful and greatly appreciated!