How Far is Print Media Willing to Go to Stay in Business?

An article in Editor and Publisher today reported that The O.C. Register in California has joined up with iMedia, a network that sells "interactive national advertising." The Register will include CD-ROMs in the paper on the last Sunday of every month. On the CDs will be entertainment and music news, interviews, and music/movie previews. iMedia is paid by national and local advertisers for ad space on those CD-Roms. The Register will contribute by adding music and movie updates from iMedia itself on the newspaper's website.

Has the integration of media gone too far? I am all for print and new media combining to make stories more colorful, more interactive, and more up-to-date. However, the ads that have invaded our newspapers are bad enough. We have discussed in class the annoyance of pamphlets and advertisements that fall out of our newspaper as we try and read it on the subway. Even the front page of some newspapers now runs ads. On the Internet, actual stories in text only get about a third of the space on the page, competing with images, links, and ads. Do we really need CD-ROMs in our newspapers? Or is this an effective way for The Register to keep its newspaper economically viable without sacrificing its staff or content?

However, the inclusion of entertainment updates from iMedia on The Register's website does change the content of their site to a degree, perhaps detracting from coverage of hard news. Should we make that sacrifice in order to draw traffic to websites and entice advertisers? I wonder if The Register will credit iMedia's entertainment updates as part of the newspaper's news, or as a separate section run by iMedia. More and more, the changing face of the media landscape surprises me. What's next, MP3-feeds that play us the major news stories as we listen to our IPods on the subway? On second thought, maybe I should market that idea...

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