Niche Newspaper Manifesto

Original author: Umair Haque
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Information: Umair Haque - Director of Havas Media Lab , a recognized specialist in the field of media and consumption, his company advises major industry players, investors, entrepreneurs, offering unique business models, strategies and radical innovations for the development of their business. The publications on his Bubblegeneration blog are featured by Wired, The Red Herring, Business 2.0, and BusinessWeek. Yumeir was one of the co-authors of The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. He received an MBA degree under the direction of Gary Hamel, a major modern researcher in the field of media economics. He was a writer, banker, consultant, traded derivatives on the stock exchange. He currently resides in London. [His blog , schedule ,tweet ].


Further in the text of the translation the term “news” is used. In English, including the professional language of journalists and the media industry, it has several meanings. In this article, the term “news” refers to the practice of communicating to the public something in general, rather than a specific genre or specialization of the publication. That is, news is understood as news, and analytical articles, and reports, and news agencies, and weeklies, etc., etc.
You should also pay attention to the term "newspaper". The author primarily addresses the newspaper industry, so this word is translated literally. In fact, the reader can safely extrapolate the contents of the manifest to the field of new media, namely mobile technologies, Internet media, content projects, news services, etc.,that were created by newspapers . This is due to the fact that many old companies have made and continue to make big mistakes, trying to master a new environment.

Niche Newspaper Manifesto



Dear newspaper moguls! So, you are again trying to get people to pay for the news. Wake up!

It was not the journalists who made the newspapers of the 20th century profitable, but the readers. Twentieth-century newspapers have never been particularly profitable because of their content . The source of the huge profits of newspapers is a natural monopoly on the ads printed in them.

In the 21st century, the time has come to learn to be useful to consumers again , instead of inventing ways to tear money from them . The main problem is not how to sell the old “product” better, but how to make radically better products. Here's how to make 21st century newspapers.

News of the XX century does not meet the needs of society of the XXI centuryYesterday's approaches can neither really cover, nor educate, nor inform. The fourth power is beyond repair. And the news industry itself was to blame for this, which was rushing to the collapse of the race. It's time for a better view of the news.

A new generation of experimenters is already creating newspapers of the 21st century. These are niche newspapers. Future journalism is growing right under the noses of old bigwigs. Niche newspapers occupy micronishes.

They are different because they firmly settled in the clearly defined boundaries of their possessions - finances, politics, even entertainment - and offer their audience the deepest, not needing additional reinforcement of knowledge in their field.

Niche newspapers are not a product, not a service, not a business model. This is a new type of organization.They are a clear example of innovation, which is key to 21st century business. These are not old newspapers that sell in new ways. These are newspapers of the 21st century, created according to the new rules, which redefine what “news” is.

Here are the eight most important of these rules.
  • Knowledge, not news. Newspapers aim to inform people of the news. The next stop is a warehouse of valuable information. Niche newspapers, instead of news, aim to provide meaningful, comprehensive knowledge.
  • Comment, not comment. Newspapers determine what is news and what is not. Whose opinions to give, and whose not. Niche newspapers create knowledge with readers through commentage. Commentary is the brother of the report. This is the art of using comments to build dialogue with the audience, because the audience can fill in the gaps, eliminate the gaps and strengthen the foundation of knowledge. Many newspapers have comments, so what? Almost no one builds a dialogue with commentators, who thus seemed to be stuck in the twilight zone, being able to speak only among themselves. In contrast, niche newspapers always have the most active dialogue with readers.
  • Topics, not articles. This is why niche newspapers are developing topics instead of reporting news and forgetting about it. When Talking Points Memo covered a series of political layoffs in the Bush administration, she did so in a series of publications that tracked how things were going. Articles are for information only. Themes are for understanding.
  • Shortage, not circulation. Newspapers chase circulations, retelling the same thing in the same way in only a few different places. Niche newspapers chase shortages, hunger, and what readers will miss from competitors.
  • Now, not after. Newspapers tell you the news after the event. Niche newspapers give you knowledge now. Why start weekly columns and daily reports if all this disappears into the abyss of the archive? This is a meaningless way to produce content. Niche newspapers develop topics from discussion, rather than individual articles, and then give them the opportunity to grow with readers.
  • Provocation, not perfection. Newspapers strive for excellence: perfect grammar, brilliant headlines, great seeds. Niche newspapers seek to provoke. Yes, sometimes it’s just a slight tickle. But more often this is a real provocation, they make us think, puzzle us, form us like newspapers have long ceased to form.
  • Snowball, not a sale. Long ago, newspapers were sold to advertisers, PR managers, important "sources" and lobbyists. When was the Wall Street Journal biting his last feeding hand? Why is the post editorial page so bland? Niche newspapers are not sold out yet. And if their business model takes place, then they will not have to do it. They are not for sale, but for sale. They raise topics and provide an opportunity to grow like a snow coma to those who will cause the greatest interest, giving rise to a flurry of comments, tips, criticism, corrections.
  • Tasks, not technology. Niche newspapers are not a matter of technology. They use blogs, vlogs, podcasts, wikis, tweets or large articles, or all of these at once, but this is not the main thing. They do not care what technologies to use, if only they would best solve the task.


Here are four models for niche newspapers that apply these rules in different ways. Each model is named after the type of old newspaper, because in order to create a better one, one must return to the basic principles.

  1. Sentinel -  Talking Points Memo . Unmatched by TPM, this is the gold standard of a niche newspaper. And this is a special type. The sentry is always on his guard, watching the political arena, broken promises, inappropriate behavior. Combining reportage, commentary, opinions, exposures, TPM demonstrates the most downhole, fearless political journalism in America to date.
  2. Chronicle - Perez Hilton . Perez Hilton is a 21st century columnist. He writes down all the dissolute, ready-made and potentially interesting things in the world of entertainment in such heartbreaking details that the result is amazing - sensations become commonplace. Like TPM, Perez is not afraid to violate the status quo with his constancy, methodology and humor.
  3. Informant - Business Insider . Henry Blodget was once a stock analyst, so it’s not surprising that his new Business Insider erases the line that separates news from in-depth investigations. Although the newspaper often interprets events very specifically, the analysis itself is important. It gives readers more food for thought than the news version 1.0.
  4. Pioneer - The Huffington Post . The Huffington Post is probably a classic niche newspaper. What distinguishes her is her discovery in topics, concepts, ideas and points of view. The newspaper has liberal political views, this is its element. But it is the pioneering spirit that distinguishes her. It gives way to any ideas from almost any direction, of course, if they are at least of some interest.


These rules and models are not the only and not the best. These are the directions that radical innovators have already moved to find news for the 21st century. And they are already outlining how this will end. The 21st Century News Organization is a collection of different types of niche newspapers. Health informant? A pioneer of education? Chronicle of finance and entertainment? What will the news be? Why?

Niche newspapers are our future because they have the best economic model.All of the above newspapers are real companies with employees, offices, expenses. Niche newspapers use capital more efficiently, giving more for significantly less cost. Readers get more, better, faster content, and publishers spend less on distribution, marketing, production, and carry less risk. The difference is that they find new growth paths and rediscover the lost art of being profitable due to their popularity.

This is the whole point.

You can’t make a profit twice from one raw material. Newspapers were the most lucrative industry yesterday. Warren Buffett was lucky to invest in newspapers yesterday. And today, an innovation called "monetization" is the most faithful and fastest to self-destruction. If you take the money again for the same "content", then you can end up in the same place where investment banks and the auto industry are now.

To organize the purchase and sale of news, you must first rethink their production. AP’s latest attempt to improve the business model , for example, is a heavyweight “rights management” system for the same old trash. It was the protection of yesterday's “product” that prevented the music industry and Hollywood from understanding the art of creating added value.

In addition, niche newspapers are organizations of the M generation . Even today, radical innovators refute the postulate that, contrary to established logic, tomorrow's news is only tomorrow's news. Contrary to the tenets, niche newspapers are already functioning, as many would like . The greatest mistake of the 20th century news industry was the belief that a monopoly would eliminate the need to create value added. The lesson given to newspapers is so hard.

With love,
Umair and Edge Economy Community

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