Steve Buttry, editor of The Gazette and the GazetteOnline, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Here’s info about Buttry on the UM J-school site. This is one of many presentations at UM J-school centennial this week. But I’m adding this late…it occurred on Thursday, Sept. 11) “How many people are using Newspaper Next?” he asked. One or two raised their hands. “How many people have heard about Newspaper Next?” he asked. Just a few hands went up in an auditorium in which almost every seat is filled. Buttry says: “We gotta do a better job getting the word out about Newspaper Next.” [ReJurno: Ya think? Isn’t this billed as the newspaper industry’s big push to save newspapers, to embrace disruptive technology?]1`
Buttry said that newspapers used to be the place for the entire community. They served the community’s needs. But newspapers are not the best vehicle anymore. So, the American Press Institute developed Newspaper Next, which includes the concept of looking at a community’s megajobs, that is, the jobs that people and businesses need to do in community. Buttry says that newspapers should ask: What are the jobs our products are doing for business and consumers? And he repeated what many are this week, and have been for the last few years: We’re no longer newspaper companies. Instead of defining ourselves by our technology, we need to ask what is it we do for this community? We need to become the local information and connection utility. Great journalism alone can’t sell a newspaper.