Posts Tagged ‘print versus online’


iPad’s Release May Be A Success, But What About Its Print To Web Coverage?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

by Stephen Lawrence*

The iPad was released last Saturday. Until last week coverage of the iPad was limited by Apple’s press embargo, which restricted the potential

Flickr Image: lighthack

Flickr Image: lighthack

consumer’s access to both imagery and analysis. For the online Apple enthusiasts, this may have been an unavoidable hindrance, but it did little to quell the enthusiasm for all postings iPad-related. While social media circles were abuzz for weeks prior in anticipation of the April 3rd release, the coverage in the traditional (print) media was more subdued in the buildup.

The first images of Apple’s tablet computer were revealed, along with its name, in late January. Outside of tech circles, the public (online or offline) saw precious little imagery of the product in action until the release weekend. And again, for that dedicated market segment, that was of minor impart as their purchasing decision was set. But for another segment of the populace the coverage of the iPad by the traditional media in that crucial introductory weekend window would be their introduction to Apple’s revolutionary platform. What did the readership see of the iPad in their weekend newspapers? What did or didn’t they encounter if they happened to read that self-same article online?

Analysis of the coverage drawn from 60 major U.S .newspapers, for the release weekend of April 3-5, reveals a familiar pattern of content and coverage that we have seen in previous postings.

April 3
Out of 45 iPad-related articles which ran that day – the day of the iPad’s release – 33 were accompanied by an image of the product. The majority of these graphics were reproductions of the official release photo of the iPad. When compared with their corresponding web versions, only eight articles published the original image. The remainder consisted only of text. Only one out of a dozen syndicated articles could be located online.

April 4
Sunday sees a doubling of articles and imagery as the focus shrifts to local iPad frenzy. Newspapers in all major markets published a combination of syndicated and original content typically datelined from an Apple retail showroom. Photos of campout lines and of the lucky first purchaser accounted for nearly 100 images found in print that day. While some corresponding sites did contain a wealth of extras, such as video and interviews, the overall ratio was only slightly higher than from the previous day. Only 44 of those valuable images transitioned from print to web.

April 5
Less than 40 of the major papers ran an iPad article in their Monday editions. Many of them took a business news angle, reporting sales figures from the previous weekend. And, quite interestingly, only half of those were accompanied by a graphic of either an original or syndicated flavor. While this may have been related to either the news cycle or typical Monday space limitations in print, on the web-side a mere 10 of the 40 ran with graphics.

The release of the iPad was a huge event and not only for Apple. Application providers and traditional media outlets are betting on the iPad for the delivery of multiple layers of content and increased revenue. Thus, more than a few industry watchers have commented that the iPad’s release was simply “too big to fail.” Even with all of these factors in its favor, though, there was a considerable loss in content for the iPad’s coverage when transitioning from print to corresponding web coverage.

I’ve heard it said that “some people will read your story and some people will read part of your story, but EVERYONE will look at the picture.” If this is the case the accompanying image is vital to measuring impact. If the picture isn’t there could you be losing a prospective buying audience? If you aren’t evaluating the whole story with pictures, where they are included, is your marketing team able to properly evaluate the impact of your brand? This study again leaves me with a lot of questions and one answer: the image is a powerful component to have in your PR and communications arsenal.

If the release was for a lesser known product or a launch of a new brand, what kind of impact do you think the lack of consistent translation from print to online coverage or lack of image would have on reception? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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*Bio: A native of Mesa, Arizona, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Near Eastern Studies. I began my career with BurrellesLuce in 1997 as a reader. As with most readers, I developed a special relationship with my assigned papers – those small town dailies and weeklies of the same flavor that my family had been employed in for two generations. Currently, I hold the position of quality assurance specialist, troubleshooting daily production issues. Outside interests include woodworking, and keeping my wife and dog happy. Twitter: BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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Tis The Season For Lists of Toys, For All Ages of Girls and Boys

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

by Stephen Lawrence*
It’s become a PR tradition to release lists of the season’s hot toys around the holidays. Top ten lists of the best, the safest, and the most popular items for all ages are now as eagerly anticipated as the next shipment of Zhu Zhu pets. For smaller manufacturers this brings invaluable product recognition, especially for those products that can seemingly catch fire overnight.

And toy retailers are actively integrating the toys, found on the more popular lists, into their seasonal in-store marketing campaigns. In a recent interview for Playthings.com, Nancy Stanek, the owner of Illinois-based Toys Etcetera, observed:

Draw attention to the “best toys” by creating a special display that shoppers can identify quickly. If shoppers have heard about the list through your advertising, on your website, in newspaper articles, or through Mommy blogs, make it easy and obvious for them to find what they came for.

For the general public, those aunts and uncles, who are looking for the perfect gift for little Poindexter, but just aren’t privy to Lil_Girl_Xmashis ever-changing wish list – these placements are a great starting point.  And what could be a better place to start that quest than in the pages of their local newspaper?   

As we have observed in previous postings, pictures are invaluable to driving product recognition especially when the shelves are crowded with so many toys competing for the buyer’s attention.  (Remember the thrill of Christmas catalogs in those days long ago?)

So, in terms of graphics, how do toy list articles fare in the jump from print to web? (I must note, that while we are supplying the URLs to the online articles, we are unable to reproduce the original printed pages for comparison and posting to Fresh Ideas due to copyright restrictions. For a more in-depth discussion on copyright, check out this BurrellesLuce white paper.)

Here are just a few instances where the web doesn’t reflect the original print.

  • FamilyFun magazine recently announced its 18th annual T.O.Y. (toy of the year) Award winners.  While a number of newspapers picked up the release, publishing a nice array of the accompanying photos alongside, only the Online Athens (Athens Banner-Herald) fully transitioned the article to its website.  
  • Another example is from the Chicago Tribune whose Internet version of the article, “Not the Zhu Zhu Pets: 5 more hot toys this holiday season” has none of “the five hot toy” photos that that readers received in the print edition. 
  • Even original material can see a loss of content. A full-page article about teaching toys, from the print edition of the Detroit Free Press lost over half of its graphics on the journey to the web.  And the Internet version of this article, appearing on ArizonaCenteral.com, listing “The Best in Tech Toys” gets no pictures whatsoever.

As I’ve stated in prior posts, if you’re not seeing both your print and online coverage than you’re not seeing the full picture – quite literally. For those in the retail industry or in public relations who are trying to reach clients and perspective consumers, the effects of missing graphics could be detrimental.

*Bio: A native of Mesa, Arizona, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Near Eastern Studies. I began my career with BurrellesLuce in 1997 as a reader. As with most readers, I developed a special relationship with my assigned papers – those small town dailies and weeklies of the same flavor that my family had been employed in for two generations. Currently, I hold the position of quality assurance specialist, troubleshooting daily production issues. Outside interests include woodworking, and keeping my wife and dog happy. Twitter: BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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Comparison: What’s Missing from Your Web Content?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Flickr Image: Laura Burlton

Flickr Image: Laura Burlton

by Stephen Lawrence*
In previous postings, I’ve discussed the disparity between newspapers and their web equivalents.  We’ve learned that one-to-one equivalency rarely occurs and that loss of valuable content accompanies such instances when the digital doesn’t equal the print.  This posting covers some of those examples where printed photos don’t make it to the web.

First, I must note, that while we are supplying the URLs to the online articles, we are unable to reproduce the original printed pages for comparison and posting to Fresh Ideas due to copyright restrictions. (For a more in-depth discussion on copyright, check out this BurrellesLuce white paper.)

If you manage public relations for authors, restaurants or fashion clients I promise you’ll find these examples very interesting:

Book Reviews
One of my guilty pleasures, back in the days when I was a reader (that’s a “fancy” term for someone on our production team who searches for articles relevant to a clients reading instructions), was perusing the book review sections of various newspaper as I read them for our clients.  Shots of the book’s cover running alongside the printed article were always handy in capturing my attention and helped make finding the relevant material all the easier. 

When conducting some quality assurance recently, I was reminded of this and found a few examples where the print and online editions of book review images don’t match up: (more…)

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From Newsstand to Newsreader: The Continuing Quest for Content

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

by Stephen Lawrence*
I’ve now seen more New Jersey newspapers and news sites than most have probably seen in their lifetime.  I’m quite sure of it – not that that’s a bad thing.

My latest project has consisted of compiling, cataloging, and comparing the Garden State’s newspapers to their respective websites.  Not in terms of content, though, only for presence.  (A discussion of the big “C” – content – will come later.)

In terms of circulation, here’s a fun fact that struck me regarding the N.J. 200. (Note:  These numbers are based primarily on the 2008 Audit

Flickr Image: erjkprunczyk

Flickr Image: erjkprunczyk

Bureau of Circulations figures.)

  • 95 percent are less than 50,000
  • 77 percent are less than 25,000
  • 46 percent are less than 10,000

Almost half of the N.J. 200 have a circulation of around 10,000 or less.  Yes, while many of these are local editions, they’re still individually published even in these dark days for the newspaper industry.

Not so simple was the cataloging. The first lesson I learned from this project is not to trust the website address that many papers publish as part of their masthead.  Re-directs and dead links are common. Thanks to the New Jersey Press Association (http://www.njpa.org/njpa/), I was able to fill in the blanks.

Another interesting discovery: very few papers have stand-alone sites.  In fact, the vast majority are relegated to local content pages on larger sites maintained by their publishing group.  For example, the nj.com site hosts the content of a dozen New Jersey papers whose combined print circulation exceeds 1,000,000.  Northjersey.com, centraljersey.com, and southjerseylocalnews.com gather together major elements of content from their associated papers.  Then there are numerous smaller papers which are distributed out of the My Town Navigator Network (http://www.mytownnavigator.com), which is closer to a community, than a newspaper homepage. Only five percent of the NJ 200 had no locatable web presence.   

How does the print to web content ratio suffer in aggregate sites such as these?   There are some very lean sites out there; most only present the ‘above the fold’ stories. My guess is that local newspapers, such as the N.J. 200, aren’t the only ones holding back some of their content from the web.

In my next post, I will discuss the next “C” – comparison – and talk about what content is missing from newspaper sites.

*Bio: A native of Mesa, Arizona, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Near Eastern Studies. I began my career with BurrellesLuce in 1997 as a reader. As with most readers, I developed a special relationship with my assigned papers – those small town dailies and weeklies of the same flavor that my family had been employed in for two generations. Currently, I hold the position of quality assurance specialist, troubleshooting daily production issues. Outside interests include woodworking, and keeping my wife and dog happy. Twitter: BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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