Bucking the trend

As newspapers across America struggle for readership, advertisers and income, one title is, according to its owners, thriving.

The Orange County Register (OCR) in California has fought back against the decline in American journalism by… wait for it… hiring more journalists, doing more original journalism, prioritising print and making people pay online the same ($1) as they would for a physical paper.

The full story is in The Guardian, but one quote stood out:

“Imagine it’s your daily coffee. Each time you put down your money the cup gets smaller and the brew gets weaker. That’s essentially what’s happened to American newspapers. We took things away from people and at the same time gave content away free on the web. How crazy is that? The industry committed a kind of institutional suicide over time.” – Ken Brusic, OCR editor

But before the luddites start massing at the gates of Google, this is not about the impact of digital per se, but more about how the newspaper industry, like the other traditional media, responded to it so badly.

As Aaron Kushner, the OCR‘s owner put it:

“That’s the model: have a good product and get paid fairly for it.”

That applies whatever platform you read it on, digital or otherwise.

It will be interesting to see what their balance sheet looks like when they make their financial report in September.

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