The New York Times has an interesting article about one small town newspaper’s transition to the digital age. Taking down the walls internally and opening up to the community is all part of the digital strategy for The Register Citizen in northwestern Connecticut. The article reads in part:
…the idea of the cafe, public lounge and free Wi-Fi isn’t to make money on coffee. It’s to let the public see The Register Citizen as its space. The same thought underlies the public meetings and open newsroom, the opening of the company’s archives, the public spaces for bloggers and the meeting room that will host courses on blogging and journalism, so residents can write and link to the site. The company put together an advisory board of the most enthusiastically pro-digital industry thinkers and actually listened to them. All the printing and traditional nonnews operations like circulation are being outsourced.
Whether this works is anyone’s guess. At the beginning of the year, The Register Citizen’s digital sales made up 4 percent of advertising revenues. Now they are 17 percent. John Paton, chief executive of the Journal Register Company, says the Journal Register Company’s digital ad growth is twice as large as the industry’s, and the company’s digital revenue has grown from negligible to 11 percent of ad revenue in less than a year.