Tacoma News Tribune to focus on online consumers

By Lenartha Christian
Guest contributor

The News Tribune is aware that its consumers are using different outlets to reach stories they want to read because technology gives them the ability to freelance. So, how does The News Tribune counter that?

Dale Phelps, Managing Editor, of The News Tribune said, “The News Tribune business is moving from just a papersells platform to a content wholesaler. People are buying the content we create for the Internet, tablet, phone apps, and the kindle.”

When asked if the website or the printed paper was better, Karen Peterson, the Executive Editor, said, “The website is better because it has more stories than regular print. The website adds multimedia to the stories like video, photo galleries, and interactive comments stuff that you can’t do with paper. Online stories have a tracking/update element for readers to follow along with during the day and there’s cyber archive for the reader to find a past story.”

Peterson continued, “Advertisers like the printed newspapers because their ads are stuck in them forever unlike television ads that are rotated every thirty seconds. So, when you see an ad in the paper on your table that ad will never go away until someone moves it.”

Patrick O’Callahan, the Editorial page editor, asked, “When will The News Tribune become an online-only publication?”

Ian Swenson, Online Team Leader, replied, “Not at least for another decade. The printed paper is loved by fifty-five-year-old readers and some thirty-three-year-olds, plus people supplement their print reading with the online news feed to follow the story they originally started reading; people are constantly looking for information.”

Peterson added, “No one can really predict when we’ll completely transition to an online-only publication because print makes up seventy-five percent of our revenues even though simultaneously it’s our biggest cost in the budget.”

Some companies are starting to print papers only three times a week, but that strategy isn’t picking up traction. The Texas Tribune decided to overhaul to an online-only publication and they’re success is evidence that a paperless news company can prevail.

Swenson then gave his opinion of the online move, saying, “The online stock is rising though, we are getting thirty to forty thousand visits everyday locally and roughly one point two million visits a month.”