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We know where you live is a strategy I wrote for Newsday over ten years ago. The saying “Campaigns come and go, but a powerful branding idea is indelible” is the basis of my consulting practice.  We know where you live is a powerful branding idea.

 

A little background: Newsday serves Long Island, home to about 3 million people  — 7 million if you include Brooklyn and Queens – and it’s the island’s only “local paper.” The New York Daily News, New York Post and New York Times are also options but they more city and nationally focused. What sets Newsday apart is its ability to report the local news. People care about where they live so if you prove to them you can deliver you should command an unfair share of readers’ daily newspaper dollars. No brainer.

 

The branding idea “We know where you live” is a clear, clean mission. As employees leave the building each night if asked the question “Did you bring readers a closer to understanding their home and hometown today?” they should be able to answer. It is a business-building, strategic mission. Different than “Did you sell more papers today?”

 

Newsday.com is the newspaper’s online property and like most online brand extensions it is still trying to figure itself out. The executives re-creating it have newspaper hats on and, likely, will not get it right for a while.  Why? Because they don’t have a branding idea to guide them – to free them up as they think through the property. As news, content, commerce, community and widgets are being developed to drive site relevance and traffic, the developers need to be grounded in a strategic mission. The site and paper need to prove that Newsday.com knows where we Long Islanders live. Peace!

 

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The New York Times is missing a huge opportunity with its daily newspaper. The problem is the Metropolitan section. Today the section is 6 pages long and one of those pages is obituaries. An eighth of a page is advertising, and that’s a house ad.  I counted about 15 writers with the only recognizable name being Clyde Haberman, who owns the “NYC” column.
 
In one of the greatest cities in the world, is there not more than 5 pages of news? 
 
The New York Times has lost its way in local news and it is killing circulation. If you need local news you have to read the Daily News or the New Your Post. 
 
I’m a big fan of Monday’s Metropolitan Diary, which always makes me smile and happy to be a New Yorker, but the rest of the week the section is a sham. Where’s the leadership? Where is the controversy? The human interest? The advertising? For goodness sake, this is New York. The Bumpus Mills Tennessee Guardian has more local news. Let’s wake up Mr. Sulzberger, Jr.
 

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In one of the world’s largest cities, in on of the world’s greatest newspapers, there is a serious recession going on. A recession of content. On Sunday February 24th and today, February 25th , the New York Times Metro section contained 8 pages. That’s 2 broadsheet folios. What’s up with that? Does the Times not have enough metro reporters to write stories? We certainly have enough people, neighborhoods and stories to generate many more pages. Are New Yorker’s looking to the Daily News and NY Post for their local news? Is ad revenue so far down that the Times can’t fill up 12 pages in the one section devoted to the New York area? 

 
Also, when I was a kid in the business, the most prime real estate in the Times was the back cover. One day late last week not one section of the NY Times had a back cover ad. Those babies sold at an extra 20-25% premium over regular full pages. No one was buying. 
 
Lovers of the New York Times beware. 
 

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