The deadly sins of newspapers

I’m in Cooperstown today, speaking at the New York Newspaper Publishers Association annual conference. As a left coaster, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the history here: the local newspaper has been around for 201 years, the hotel is celebrating its 100th birthday and this is the 156th edition of the conference. (And tomorrow I’ll be taking in the baseball hall of fame.)

Before speaking about social networking and mobile for news publishers, I’m sitting in some morning sessions, including one called “The Deadly Sins of Newspapers.” Ed Efchak, who spent decades at the Bergen County Record and has done stints at Belden and INMA, offered this list of “sins:”

  • not owning your localspace
  • not concentrating on customer winners
  • becoming brand-less
  • losing focus
  • being boring
  • not being digital first
  • not being different

While not as compelling as Bill Wyman’s recent treatise on 5 key reasons newspapers are failing, he’s hit on some interesting points and is concluding with an impressive slideshow of innovative print designs from around the world. If I can get a link to the preso online, I’ll post it here.


Slides are apparently not available online, but Efchak did offer these step of absolution:


  • get rid of fixed ideas and paradigms
  • visualize the ideal situation
  • go get the facts
  • reduce waste
  • think of ways to make it possible
  • get input and ideas from many people
  • take responsibility – have courage

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