Johm Kominicki. Publisher LIBN -The Future
June 18, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT
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Our speaker Friday morning was John Kominicki, Publisher, and now, also the editor ,of Long Island Business News. We posed the question of how do newspapers compete with other media. Kominicki has a humorous, and always interesting manner when he speaks, even as he approaches a topic that is a serious business concern.
LIBN, as well as other print media, have been seriously challenged by the coming of the Internet. During a period of trying to use the new media to augment the dissemination of information and accrue advertising dollars some missteps will occur. LIBN thought that advertisers that were holding back from print would transition to their electronic pages, and to some degree that did happen, but not enough to offset the print page loss. In a word, that is not progress. The model had to be tweaked.
John said we now knew that we had to follow the model of the only smart paper, The Wall Street Journal, and charge for internet content. In LIBN ‘s case you can only get a teaser line, and can only read the whole story if you were a print subscriber. That strategy has worked. The print subscription sales increased and so did the advertising sales by about 10%. In the meantime some valuable newspaper people were lost. The good news is that the remaining staff feels a little more secure since the situation seems stabilized. Those people that did leave are having mixed success with experiments in web based journalism. John truly wishes them well.
Kominicki pointed out that news is not in jeopardy of being compromised by editorials since the content of a paper is the lifeblood of a readable publication. People read stories that are factual because they see opportunity inherent in the story. If a developer is planning a big project engineering firms take notice and make contact. That would be true of materials suppliers and sub contractors, and many others.
When asked during the Q&A period about print medias viability over the long run, John agreed with those that say print will find it’s place just as radio found it’s place after the advent of television. The common wisdom in those early days of television was that radio would disappear. It didn’t, it changed.