Stop the presses: DDN expands online product

As other publishers are finding ways to cut their services, DDN is growing and becoming more innovative in the way we reach our readers, while still maintaining our dedication to excellent news reporting. Effective this month, you will notice that we have made many changes to DDN Online and to respond to our readers’ changing needs and habits.

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Much has been reported lately about tough times in the newspaper business. Many daily newspapers have shut their doors, and more are projected to close this year as they struggle to compete for reader loyalty in an increasingly digital world. However, closer inspection of this trend reveals that newspapers may not be dead—yet.

Last month, New York-based public relations firm The Rosen Group released the results of a survey which polled more than 300 people ages 12 to 72 on their media consumption habits. The survey concluded that "the vast majority of adult consumers still consider the print editions of these publications indispensable sources of news and entertainment."

"People are looking online for news and lifestyle information, but they are not abandoning their print editions," noted Lori Rosen, president of The Rosen Group. "There is still a certain satisfaction and ease to holding printed text in your hands, and PDAs and PCs will not replace this just yet."

Commenting recently on the state of the newspaper industry, Ted Diadiun, a columnist for The Plain Dealer, the daily newspaper for DDN's home base of Cleveland, Ohio, argued that "professional newsgatherers let readers know what they know and how they know it, so that the reader can evaluate the worth of the story and the information in it. People have said that they get their news from the Internet … but they don't. Just about any news of substance and credibility they see on a Web site got its start with a print reporter and a notebook."

For The Plain Dealer, one of those reporters was our very own chief editor, Amy Swinderman, who cut her teeth in journalism as a teenage correspondent for the newspaper. Now well-versed in the world of Internet news, Amy asserts that newspapers will always hold value for readers.

"There will always be a place for newspapers," she says. "Someone has to tell the stories and disseminate the information. The manner in which they do that may change and the needs and preferences of readers may change, but the fundamental role of newspapers will never change."

Instead of running in fear from digital media, "traditional" news outlets should embrace the opportunities that "new media" create to reach readers, Amy says.
"News professionals need to educate ourselves on where the world is going technology-wise, and how multimedia has changed our culture and psychology, and figure out how to adapt," she says.

Last Fall, I commented on the value of integrated news sources. Drug Discovery News is a newspaper, and knowing that print news drives readers to the Internet, we use various "touch points" to disseminate news and market the products and services of our advertisers. Four years ago, we published the first print version of DDN, later adding a fully integrated Web site, a bi-weekly e-newsletter and an e-new product showcase.

Now, as other publishers are finding ways to cut their services, DDN is growing and becoming more innovative in the way we reach our readers, while still maintaining our dedication to excellent news reporting. Effective this month, you will notice that we have made the following changes to DDN Online and to respond to our readers' changing needs and habits:
  • Our Web site and DDN Online have been redesigned to be more readable, concise and organized, making our content easy to read, locate and navigate.

  • The new Web site allows our editors to post news on a daily basis, giving you breaking news and important stories as they happen.

  • The new Web site enables you to easily browse full current and past issues and showcases our pre-convention coverage and new product announcements.

  • In an effort to be more available and accessible to our readers and customers, the Web site contains a page where you can easily access contact information for anyone at DDN—whether they are sales, editorial or business employees.

  • Readers will be able to share news they find interesting with their colleagues via their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, in addition to being able to print or e-mail a story with a click of a mouse.

  • All print edition stories are being posted as they were written BEFORE being cut for space reasons. While our print edition has "all the news that's fit to print," we can provide you with even more content on the Web site, and invite people to visit the site to read even more about a particular story. We'll also start posting images along with the stories, so if you're on the go and don't have DDN handy, you can visit our Web site and not miss a thing.
To further quote Amy, "We're growing and enhancing our value as the publishing business looks a little peaked, and adapting to our readers' changing interests and needs. That's what any news organization worth the paper it's printed on should be doing right now." We welcome your feedback on these changes, and hope to see you online or in print, whatever your preferences may be.

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