May 17, 2009

Journalism dean: Hope for ‘Net newspapers

The dean of the University of California, Berkeley journalism school says he believes a revamping of newspaper coverage on fee-based Internet sites might work.

Paul Grabowicz told the San Francisco Chronicle that the days of a citywide newspaper dominating news coverage are probably over, but there is hope for papers that can change their coverage strategies to better fit a pay model.

Very local content, based in neighborhoods, towns and cities, content or news organized around different topics, proposed Grabowicz, a former investigative reporter.

The Chronicle said Sunday that momentum for a new stab at charging for news was building in the newspaper industry with several Bay Area papers joining the Wall Street Journal in developing a shift away from free content.

Grabowicz said he doubted that simply requiring readers to pay for access to a newspaper site was the answer.

People were abandoning what we were doing long before the Internet came along, he said.