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Dorian Benkoil senior consultant at Teeming Media. An award-winning journalist and editor, he was a foreign correspondent for AP and Newsweek, and international and managing editor for ABCNews.com. At ABC News he moved to the business side, handling sales integration and business development, before joining Fairchild Publications as General Manager for their Internet division, becoming editorial director for mediabistro.com, then a consultant for Teeming Media in New York. He graduates this year with an MBA from Baruch's Zicklin school of business. Learn more about him at Benkoil.com or his blog - MediaFlect.com.

Robert Cauthorn is a journalist, former vice president of digital media at the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the third recipient of the Newspaper Association of America's prestigious Digital Pioneer Award. He launched one of the first five newspapers web sites in the world and is generally considered to have delivered the first profitable newspaper web site in 1995. Cauthorn has been in the middle of the transition from old media to new and is recognized as frank-talking critic when he believes newspapers stray for their mission. In mid-2004 he became the president of CityTools, LLC a new media startup based in San Francisco.

Ben Compaine has divided his career between the academic world and private business. He was a journalist when manual typewriters were considered state of the art, but also led the conversion of his college newspaper to cold type. He has started and managed weekly newspapers. His dissertation at Temple University in 1977 was about the changing technologies that were going to unsettle the landscape of the staid and low profit newspaper industry. Since then he has focused his research and consulting on examining the forces and trends at work in the information industries. Among his most well-known works (and the name of his blog) is "Who Owns the Media?".

Vin Crosbie has been called "the Practical Futurist" by Folio, the trade journal of the American magazine industry. Editor & Publisher magazine, the trade journal of the American newspaper industry, devoted the Overview chapter of executive research report Digital Delivery of News: A How-to Guide for Publishers to his work. His speech to the National Association of Broadcasters annual conference was one of 24 orations selected by a team of speech professors for publication in the reference book Representative American Speeches 2004-2005. He has keynoted the Seybold Publishing Strategies conference in 2000; co-chaired and co-moderated last year's annual Beyond the Printed Word the digital publishing conference in Vienna; and regularly speaks at most major online news media conferences. He is currently in residence as adjunct professor of visual and interactive communications and senior consultant on executive education in new media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and meanwhile is managing partner of the media consulting firm of Digital Deliverance LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
About this blog
Two forces have shattered the news media. Technology is the first. Although media technology is undergoing its greatest change since the day in 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg first inked type, for more than ten years now the news industry has mistaken new technologies merely as electronic ways to distribute otherwise printed or analog products. Estrangement is the second. The news media has lost touch with people's needs and interests during the past 30 years, as demonstrated by rapidly declining readerships of newspapers and audiences of broadcast news. How we rebuild news media appropriate to the 21st Century from the growing rubble of this industry is the subject of this group weblog.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Rebuilding Media

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July 23, 2008

What to watch as The Sporting News launches free online formatted magazine.

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Posted by Ben Compaine

Today was the first public edition of “The Sporting News Today.” This is a free, online daily version of The Sporting News, the weekly magazine that got its start as a bible for baseball fans.

The Sporting News has a rich history, starting publication in 1886. I remember my father subscribing in the 1960s. It was thick with box scores and stats for every team and every major sport. In 1977, when the Times Mirror Co bought the publisher for all of $18 million it had a circulation of about 356,000. By the time it was sold to Vulcan Ventures in 2000 for $100 million it had a circulation of over 500,000, but it was being threatened by the successful launch of ESPN Magazine, which had 850,00 circulation within two years of its 1998 launch.

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The Sporting News was sold again in 2006, to American City Business Journals. Today the circulation is about 700,000, but at an annual price of only $14.97 for a new subscription—compared to about $61.00 in constant dollars in 1978.

Like many print publications, The Sporting News has been substantially affected by online content. Daily sports news has been particularly hard hit. The Internet is made for getting late night scores, accessing the scads of stats that even casual fans crave, following teams in far-off cities—and all for little or, most often, no consumer cost.

Like most other print publications, it has had an online presence. The Sporting News Today is something else though. It is a magazine formatted for the screen. But it is not like a Web site. It involves no scrolling. It is pdf-like, though it is not read with Adobe Reader. It is not the print edition read online, as with Zinio. To me each screen looked like a double page spread in a magazine—but with no need for a gutter. I sort of felt that I had spread opened the tabloid-sized magazine. You will note that each of the “double pages” has one page number.

By offering to send subscribers an email each day, readers so do not have to bookmark anything. Just click the link.

The content is vintage Sporting News: Right now heavy on baseball, but lots on football—professional and college. There is hockey, basketball, NASCAR, tennis. Even Little League World Series coverage is promised. And, with a nod to WEB 2.0, it will offer readers the opportunity to provide their own input: “You’ll get a byline, file to an editor.” (Actually, a clever spin on “Letters to the Editor.”)

No surprise, the business model for the Sporting News Today is, for the moment at least, advertising, though it was rather light for a first edition. The inaugural issue had a full page from SpeedTV.com, three half page house ads for Sporting News affiliates and a full page promotion for the revamped Sporting News magazine, which will become a bi-weekly. (Management expects to lose 100,000 circulation from current levels to the free online publication).

I’m not a design expert—I’ll leave that to my colleagues at Innovation Media Consulting Group. But the Sporting News Today will feel comfortable to readers who like the look of print and are put off by clicking here and there for do their online reading. The layout feels modern but grounded in print. How that plays may be generational—or not.

As a final note, it may be worth pointing out that while traditional print publications are downsizing, The Sporting News Today is hiring. Indeed, I got turned on to its impending launch by Charles Apple, it’s new art director, who was hired away from the Virginia Pilot newspaper. (Has anyone seen numbers on how many print journalists have been hired by online-only ventures other than self-funded blogs?)

There has been speculation in recent years on when we will get the first announcement that a daily newspaper will shut down its presses completely and switch to digital-only. There are still some big hurdles, like portability. But should services such as Amazon’s Kindle take off, allowing readers to take their digital publications on the go, then the Sporting News Today model may have legs and encourage a general interest newspaper to give it a whirl.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Magazines | Online | Revenue models | Strategy | media industry


COMMENTS

1. Cimarron Buser on July 25, 2008 3:11 PM writes...

This digital edition version was producted by Texterity. You can sign up for free to receive it at http://www.coverleaf.com/sportingnewstoday.

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2. Carl M. Kirby,Jr. on January 2, 2009 1:26 PM writes...

The Sporting News Todat is must get. Gives you complete coverage on sports.

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3. Robert on April 29, 2009 6:23 AM writes...

I've been gettin the daily online Sporting News for appox a year and yesterday it stopped for the first time since I started the serived. Please explain or kindly just renew my free online Sporting news email.

Thank you.

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4. cheap auto insurance on June 24, 2013 11:17 PM writes...

First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.

I've had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Kudos!

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