Ready to Subscribe to the Local Print Newspaper Again

NewspaperI was at my local farmer’s market this weekend and I saw a guy there advertising a year’s worth of Sunday newspapers (the SF Chronicle) for about $30. I almost signed up and probably will.

I get the print Sunday NY Times (to access to the digital edition) and to support the publication. But I discontinued my local newspaper subscription several years ago.

Despite what I would call my “facility with online media” I feel like I’m missing out on things, especially in the realm of local events. Yes, there are a whole bunch of local events sites. But I forget to check them and generally their user experiences aren’t great.

It’s amazing that nobody online (or in mobile) has “solved” the local events problem.

The newspaper was historically the central repository for all that was happening (and would be happening in the near future) in the local area. Now I effectively have to rely on direct mail and pure serendipity to learn about what’s going on in and around the SF Bay Area.

I’m not going to search because I wouldn’t know what to search for most of the time — it’s a “local discovery problem.” And I’m not going to follow scores of venue sites on Twitter or something like that. Facebook could certainly fill the vacuum but the site would need to “step it up” in order to do so.

Amazingly I’m going to resubscribe to the local print newspaper because local online media and digital media more broadly have failed it comes to alerting me about things to do and events coming up in my area.

I challenge you to disagree with me and point to a site online that’s really done a great job with local events (the test of that is you use it weekly).

You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed.

15 Responses to “Ready to Subscribe to the Local Print Newspaper Again”

  1. Justin Sous says at

    I think Patch.com does a decent job with local, but I agree I don’t think anything has really replaced local newspapers. I do not use it weekly. It’s also not available in every city, so it’s not currently an option for some.

  2. Greg says at

    It’s kind of shocking given all the startups that once existed in this segment

  3. Dan Calladine says at

    I think that Facebook might be able to do something, once events get integrated into their search. 
    Or, to put it another way, Facebook have a lot of potential to do something with this problem.

  4. Greg says at

    Facebook has explicitly called itself a “personal newspaper,” which I find very interesting. However it’s some distance from being able to solve the problem I describe above. 

  5. Local Search Source says at

    I capture and consume all my news (local and otherwise) via feeds, Google+ and Twitter, depending on the device. In terms of local events, I have to say that Patch has been so disappointing lately that I rarely find myself reading it; little/no content, and once and awhile some lame post about a hyper-local event, but it’s hit or miss. As much as I hate to admit it, LoHud.com (Gannett digital) does a much better job with local events/stories, and they’ve recently gone to a partial paywall – so I may soon pay (which I hate to do since their recent screw-up in publishing legal gun owner’s addresses). Other sources? Facebook a bit I guess, direct mail for sure. What else is there? 

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    Most newspapers are going to a paywall because they have to. That’s not an entirely bad thing if it means the content improves and the model is more sustainable.

  7. Ches Hagen says at

    I’m with you Greg… I am basically disconnected from my city (Vancouver) without a quick flip through our two dailies.  I might just re-subscribe as well.  To keep up with events I find myself using Ticketmaster as about the only form of local discovery of something interesting but then I miss the stuff that’s not a paid event.. besides Ticketmaster and the daily newspaper, I end up clueless on what’s going on in my fine city.  

  8. Justin Sturges says at

    There is a local events website that does a really solid job. It’s been my go-to resource whenever I want to get out of the home office. Sacramento365.com. I wish every area had one.

  9. Greg Sterling says at

    Justin: I wish there were such a site in my area.

  10. Nancy Aeschbach says at

    I applaud all of you for looking for a website but the fact of the matter is that I like newspapers, local newspapers, NY Times, Wall Street Journal. I like the seredipity of seeing an article that I did not particularly look for but which catches my eye. Seeing so many announcements/articles on a page gives you a chance to read about a new place or new happening without specifically looking for it.

  11. Rick says at

    what do y’all think about evie says   http://www.eviesays.com ??

  12. Greg says at

    The site is OK. Looks fairly typical. There’s a “discovery problem” there, as with all these sites. I have to go to the site and do a bunch of clicking around or searching. 

    There need to be both search and notification capabilities that are “fuzzy” enough to let me know about things I’m not already searching for — things I might be interested in. 

  13. Johnny says at

    I run an events discovery blog in San Francisco http://sf.funcheap.com – with a handpicked list of free and affordable things to do like street fairs & festivals, free movie nights, robot dance parties, etc…

    Rather than scraping sites and trying to have a gigantic list of every event under the sun and forcing people to search and sort, we look over a ton of email lists, facebook pages, twitter feeds, meetup groups and venue sites to curate our listings to highlight our favorites and anything that we think is really unique.

    I’d love to get your feedback about Funcheap and any areas of improvement so I can make it an even better resource.

    Thanks!
    Johnny

  14. Greg says at

    @Johnny: I like it. Lots of content and I appreciate the “picks” (editorial/curation). I subscribed. 

  15. Jordan says at

    Greg,

    Great topic and points. Events are getting a lot more attention these days, for good reason. At SpinGo, we partner with media companies, like your local newspaper, to power their events calendar, mobile app, and the print listings. We feel we have the most complete solution, with a lot more to come. Check us out on a partner site like http://www.utsandiego.com/news/entertainment/things-to-do/#/grid, or browse around SpinGo.com and let me know what you think.

    -Jordan

  16. SF Newspaper May Finally Realize Its Local-Digital Potential says at

    […] recently resubscribed to the Chronicle’s Sunday print edition because I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a reliable and easy to use source of local […]

Leave a Reply