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Pruitt: Niche Products Key to News Online Success

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy CEO, tells the Wall Street Journal:

In many ways tailored niche products will be the key to newspapers success online, because more targeted online offerings can supplement the mass reach of the print product. As we learn more about our online users through registration, we are able to tailor content to their interests and sell more targeted advertising to them. And of course advertisers are willing to pay a higher rate, if they know their advertising message is going to an audience already interested in their product or service…And most of our sites now have local search as both a community service and a sales opportunity. And we put video online from our correspondents in Iraq. We use multimedia storytelling techniques to illustrate complex stories. And we are blogging everything from pop music to politics on our sites. We are expanding into community-based services and grassroots journalism. As a result of this multifaceted innovation in our Internet operations, we would expect that there would be successful business models to support niche products.

In its newspapers proper, Pruitt says,

the Star Tribune in Minneapolis is about to take the wraps off a redesign that we hope will make it a model for a 21st century newspaper. We expect it to be tailored to meet the needs of readers who just have a few minutes to spend with the paper, as well as those seeking deeper information — a paper integrated more thoroughly with the paper’s Web site…It’s a struggle for everybody. I don’t mean to suggest it’s easy for McClatchy. There is no silver bullet in terms of circulation. It’s a lot of grinding out execution day after day.

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