Dangit. That sandwich at Raffe's is one of my favorite things in Memphis. But I'm weeks behind on blog reading. D'oh!
I do not subscribe to the local paper because of how limited their meaningful local coverage is. Deepen the local coverage and make it meaningful - less "my life" tripe and more hard journalism - and I might reconsider. Their paywall model is not helping. As others have said, it blunts the potential impact of social media and is one sized fits all. The Atl paper allows you to buy one day access to their paper, and only hides some content behind a hard wall. There are certain days I would buy the paper (but not enough to buy the physical paper) The WSJ can get away with a pretty rigid wall because it is the WSJ. The CA needs to lighten up, not eliminate, the paywall.
Can't wait! There should be a good market for those in Midtown, and it will also draw customers from East Memphis and Downtown.
I found the sources that say approximately 20 to 30 percent of the people that live in the metropolitan area of Memphis is functionally illiterate. So, I no, understand where you got your figures, however, that still leaves 400,000 people that are functionally literate. What is the total subscription for the CA in the Memphis metropolitan area?
My point is still valid. Until you go after that 400,000 or so, you are not going to have a successful paper.
I'd say that too, Homer. Except for the fact that the readership of both the CA and The Flyer has asked for the data I mentioned the other day to be published and cannot get that. Thus, readership goes down. Now that so much data is available on the WEB, the papers become clearly apologia and polemic as there is no pretense any longer to be had.
If the papers cannot add value by publishing the data with associated expository commentary, they will die.
Charlie, don't try to cover up what I have posted. You are trying to say that 1 in 3 Memphians are functionally illiterate. I find that hard t believe when it comes to reading a newspaper, even if it is nothing but the comics.
I have a hard time believing your stats. The U. S. Census says there are approximately 24% of Memphians with a college alone. The high school graduation rate is above 75%.
I would have to see a source for your figures.
For all my ablutions, there is nothing better than a Pope soap on a rope.
For Mr. Epps and Bruce:
As a teacher, I often give writing tasks to my students. I have them write technical papers with several different purposes. I always describe the audience they should write for. We discuss why knowing your audience is critical to writing and I give them two examples of exemplary writing on the same topic. One is aimed at people who are not familiar with physics and the other is aimed at people with a background in physics. The first assignment is always an informative article on a topic they have definite mastery but for an audience that does not have mastery. They have to be able to explain the topic to just any random person that they meet on the street - or the average classmate. The second assignment is to write to people with considerable technical knowledge about the concept, one of their peers. These two assignments required the same demonstration of mastery but with very different vocabulary sets. Often they have more problems with the first assignment than the second because they are used to writing at a very high level from their English classes. I'm also thankful for a colleague in English that will grade the writing samples from a grammatical standpoint and I can focus on content.
I would think this concept applies to the newspaper also. I would assume that Bruce's audience is quite different than the CA's audience, on a general note. I would also assume that Mr. Epps reference to literacy rates are a big factor. Why write to those who will never be subscribers because of a lack of skill set? I would feel safe in stating that both the CA and the Flyer know their respective audiences and they pander to them well.
@ Charlie Eppes
What is the difference between a capacity crowd of 28,000 people and the same number of people in a stadium with a capacity of 60,000? Does the U of M pay for maintenance and upkeep of the Liberty Bowl?
Thank you for your time and patience.
Memphis officially has five newspapers - the CA, the Flyer, the MBJ, the Daily News, and the Defender - that is a lot of newpapers. I read the Daily News and the Flyer on a regular basis online and normally read the office version of the MBJ and the CA if they are still laying around. I also have subscriptions to WSJ and NYT that I read daily both in print and online. Then online I will also read the Washington Post and various other national outlets. I can do this, because like you I am literate. However, in the Memphis Metro area 1 in 3 people are functionally illiterate. For the state of Tennessee, the rate is around 13%. So that means that a large portion of the population will not be able to read anything the CA prints.
In the state of Tennessee there is a newspaper outlet for every 65,000 people. Compare this to New Hampshire, which has the lowest illiteracy rate (6%), which has a newspaper outlet for every 53,000 people.
This is nothing racial. I grew up in a rural, nearly 100% white county that had a high illiteracy rate and we only had one newspaper that support a 4 county area. Printed news can only go after those that actually read it.
Yawn. In order for an incumbent to be in trouble, he has to be in trouble with his constituency. His margin of victory increases every time that he runs. Until there is some kind of groundswell among actual voters to replace the Congressman, he will stay as long as he wants.
I will put it bluntly: WHO out there that wants the job could actually beat him?
@ Charlie Eppes
I logged in to FB, liked the Grizz article and left you a comment on the FB page and the article here is the article:
Those last two games were mystifying, like they just quit on their coach. That's a troubling sign.
@ Charlie Eppes
I do understand better now, what you are saying and you do have a good point. I hardly ever go to FB so I can't speak with authority how much original content is offered as a "tease" either there or twitter. I do know some is on both. But, you may Quite possibly be right about if it is a "best marketing practice." I would think they would do some number crunching and adapt either way.
I agree with Charlie.
There is no need for a Facebook or Twitter presence if EVERYTHING is behind a paywall.
The beauty of Facebook and Twitter is that something can go viral if it's a great story. How can a story go viral if the majority of people who see it on their feeds can't get to it without paying?
Gen Y and the next generation have extremely short attention spans, and we aren't used to paying for news. If we can't click on it, read it, and share it, we'll move to the next news on our feed. If you force us to sign up and pay a fee to see what you just teased on Twitter, you can forget about it. You lost us the minute we hit a pay wall, or even a sign up page in many instances.
The NYT model, allowing a certain number of free views, is a better model, because your good stories will still spread virally, and you will actually stand a chance to get subscribers from those that do end up clicking on a lot of your stories.
I personally quit subscribing to the CA a while back. There are certain things they do better than other outlets, but it isn't enough to get me over the hump to actually pay for it.
To add to my point - here is a quick view in my Facebook feed - http://imgur.com/xpqx9Eg
Over an hour ago, the CA posted a link about the Grizzlies. At the same time the Boston Globe posted a link about the Bruins. I can't read the CA post because it is for (subscribers) only.
Note that the Bruins article (very short Blog post) already has 16 Likes and 1 Share. So it is appearing in other people's feeds that others can see. It is expanding outside of the Boston.com Facebook reach.
Over a hour has passed and the CA article has No Likes and No Shares and No Comments. Therefore no expansion to others to get new readers.
What is the point of the Facebook account then?
The CA leaves articles from the Associated Press open to anyone to read, probably because you can go read the same article on the AP's own site for free. They also will leave breaking news stories up for everyone, but when WREG or WMC is also covering the story - what is the real gain.
The issue is that tweeting out (or Facebook post) is useless unless you are a subscriber.
Here is a tweet for the CA's Jason Smith -
Jason has a large following, and he had a good conversation going with others, but the tweet was only re-tweeted once at the time I pulled it. It has links to the CA stories online. However when I click on it as a non-subscriber I get - http://imgur.com/Resyw9O
I have no reason to retweet Jason to my followers or fans, because why would they click on a link that gives them no added value? So the viral nature of Twitter is killed.
Flip side of that look at NPR's Ari Shapiro (currently NPR's White House reporter) that has his own Facebook page that has over 130,000 followers. He is sharing photos and NPR articles that are being "Liked" and shared. https://www.facebook.com/AriShapiroNPR
The difference being, everyone can access and read/listen to the articles that Shapiro is linking to. Shapiro is driving traffic to his employer's website that can be converted into money in one way or another.
Now here is the rub, I follow a lot of the CA reporters on Twitter and they provide general info on scores and stuff. They are providing information to me that I want in quick sound bites. (Keeping up with High School Sports via @kyleveazey tweets is plenty for me) However, those reporters are doing NOTHING to drive new readers to the CA website that could result in some sort of additional revenue to their employer.
Think if the article that Jason Smith tweeted to his 10,000 followers was allowed to be read by the non-subscribers (more eyeballs) who then retweeted it to their followers (more eyeballs). Over time, Jason would probably pick up more followers that he could tweet articles to and thus the audience base continues to grow and grow.
@ Charlie Eppes
Can't you click on and see articles? I can after signing out so they have no idea if I have an account. It isn't the CA-online in its entirety.
By Leonard Gill
download this issue
click here to see more »