Trial and Error: U.S. Newspapers’ Digital Struggles toward Inferiority

By H. Iris Chyi. The University of Navarra, Spain. 123 pages. ISBN: 978-84-8081-444-7. Published April 2015.

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Media Coverage

The Sunday Independent (largest paper in Ireland). (2015, October 25). “Are newspapers steak? And online is noodles?” by Steve Dempsey.

Media Life. (2015, October 20). “Making the case for print newspapers: New book makes a case for abandoning digital first strategies” by Diego Vasquez.

Editor & Publisher. (2015, October 14). “Newsosaur: Back to Basics” by Alan D. Mutter.

風傳媒. (2015, October 22). “泡麵與牛排二十年” by 那福忠.

Journalism Studies. (2016, April 8). book review by Angela M. Lee.

From the Back Cover

The so-called “new media” experiment launched by traditional news organizations has been going on for nearly two decades. However, the performance of their digital products has fallen short of expectations.

In retrospect, most U.S. newspapers outsourced their homework to business consultants such as Clayton M. Christensen, whose disruptive technology thesis served as the theoretical foundation behind the newspaper industry’s technology-driven approach. The problem is that most assumptions on the all-digital future have no empirical support. As a result, during nearly 20 years of trial and error, bad decisions were made, unwise strategies adopted, audiences misunderstood, and product quality deteriorated.

As of 2014, most newspapers are stuck between an unsuccessful experiment (for their digital product) and a shrinking market (for their print product). Ironically, the (supposedly dying) print edition still outperforms the (supposedly promising) digital product by almost every standard, be it readership, engagement, advertising revenue, or paying intent.

Is the future really online?

To answer this question, this book provides a candid, research-based review of U.S. newspapers’ failing yet still ongoing digital experiment from an independent perspective—free from the over-optimistic bias that often sways newspaper executives’ judgment in their decision-making process.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 of Trial and Error: U.S. Newspapers’ Digital Struggles Toward Inferiority

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