While print media organizations worldwide are trying to figure out how to make money online, facing declining revenues and a shrinking audience for their print editions, a startup based in Chicago is going the opposite direction, aggregating blog posts and user-generated content from the Internet and publishing it via print.
The Printed Blog, founded by Joshua Karp a few months ago, is something similar to a printed, localized Digg – the selection of content is done by readers who vote the best local news. They plan to publish hundreds of highly-localized editions based on what each community declares is important to them. The papers will be distributed to neighborhood pickup points twice a day, and will include reader comments.
This startup seems to believe there will be always space for printed media. It’s just the model that needs to change to adapt to the Web 2.0 era, bringing personalized and highly relevant news to a comfortable and familiar medium, good old paper.
While I recently cancelled all my newspaper subscriptions, a tough decision I made after I realized I get all my news online, I still think paper is the most comfortable medium to read your news (until ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle will get better and cheaper).
The Printed Blog’s business model is the usual free newspaper model, giving out newspapers for free while making money attracting local advertisers and selling classified ads. The Printed Blog won’t have to pay for editors, thanks to a revenue sharing agreement with blog authors, but will still have to support costs for printing and distribution. We’ll see if enough advertisers will be attracted by the opportunity to address a hyper-local audience and make this innovative model profitable.
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