Selzer & Company, Inc.

Case Studies

SELZER & COMPANY, INC.
308 Fifth Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-4632
Phone: 515.271.5700
Selzer & Company, Inc.Selzer & Company, Inc. Case Studies - Newspapers

CAN NEWSPAPERS BATTLE THE IMMEDIACY AND INTIMACY OF TV NEWSCASTS?

THE WISDOM:

Readers' view their relationship with newspapers as more impersonal when they compare it to television newscasts and this affects perceptions of accuracy and credibility. But, as a news medium, newspapers are still important and influential.

HOW WE GOT THERE:

The American Society of Newspaper Editors' study on credibility soured the mood in newsrooms across the country. Why is it that television news is considered more accurate and more credible than newspaper reporting?

Our client commissioned us to conduct in-depth interviews with respondents who attribute more or the same amount of credibility and accuracy to television news as to the newspaper. The resulting analysis redefined the issues, and clarified readers' concerns.

As it turns out, readers see no deficiency in newspaper coverage, but they are more involved in the medium of television as it delivers news as it happens. Readers' relationship with newspapers is less personal and feels more distant. Television engages them and shows them news as it happens.

ACTION STEPS:

Building interactivity into the pages of the daily paper. Giving key reporters and columnists the opportunity to become more intimate with the readers. Looking for ways to bring the news off the page and into the reader's world through pictures, more compelling interviews, and by involving the readers in telling the stories.

But even more important -- Calm down. Breathe deeply. Consider the trade-offs of retaining your objectivity and focus on the news with making your reporters more personable. Truly, the action steps were to call into question whether newspapers actually have a "problem" with credibility.

Make sure the newspaper is telling its own story. The story of the newsroom's commitment to journalistic excellence has been overlooked. Use the media to tout reporters' extensive training, editors' high standards, and the paper's long tradition of serving the public interest through dogged determination to tell the news readers need to know.

Selzer & Company, Inc.
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