BREAKING NEWS & VIEWS
IDG Pubs Exhibit Online-Print Symbiosis
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
To be sure, the industry is undergoing sea change like never before. But the waters don’t have to be as choppy as they might seem, particularly when publishers construct a truly complementary system where a news-focused online realm feeds a features-oriented print existence. Witness the success of two IDG publications in the computer category.
More than a year ago, IDG’s Computerworld changed its print magazine’s frequency from weekly to biweeklyand its mandate from news to features. Editor-in-chief Scot Finnie hasn’t looked back.
The demand for incessant news coverage meant a bolstering of digital news coverage. (See recent Twitter story.) “We stopped being a newsweekly and started being a news-minutely. We are posting late into the evening, early in the morning, on the weekends.” The magazine is looking to hire its first West Coast editor to “stretch out the day,” he says.
The online shift logically steered the print publication toward features and insider analyses “that have a longer shelf life,” he says. “It was a natural transition from an editorial perspective.” A recent issue included features on White House CIO Brook Colangelo, Microsoft’s blueprint to compete with Google Apps and the pros to being an IT chief at an independent company.
Finnie says his editorial staff uses online interactions as a way to gauge reader interest in a variety of subjects, a sentiment echoed at Computerworld’s consumer-oriented sister pub PCWorld.
Alexa Wriggins, VP of audience development and analytics at IDG Consumer and SMB, says that PCWorld engages in dialog with different sets of readers in each online forum—from its Web site to Twitter to latest social media darling Pinterest—and gleans valuable insights from all for potential features.
“Sometimes we just chat with them,” she says. “Recently, we’ve asked such questions as 'Are you planning to switch to Windows 8?' We get their thoughts because readers like to have a voice in a conversation. And indirectly, it might fuel a feature story.”
IDG and the computer publishing sector are not alone in their efforts to strengthen the marriage of online and print. Look for coverage of other industries in the weeks to come.
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