Other competition issues

The quest of newspapers to redefine themselves is not limited to the newsroom. It is prevalent in newspapers' marketing departments, and the concepts of marketing are drifting into the news departments. Journalists have long insisted upon a "wall" separating each organization's business operations from its news operations. A newspaper veteran now working for her newspaper's Web site describes how this has changed and how she responds:

"Profitability and brand extension are concepts that journalists traditionally could avoid their entire careers. Not anymore. ... It is important to continue to rely on your gut journalistic instincts no matter how many meetings or memos you must endure that focus on the above-mentioned functions. It is also important to calmly articulate what those instincts are to non-journalists in other departments of your company. Often, once they understand the thinking behind what the journalists want to do, they are willing to compromise. They can't sell ads if the product loses journalistic credibility." 1

The mingling of marketing and news affected her answer when asked about the strengths of her site compared to its competitors: "Our strengths include an uncluttered approach, accessibility to complex concepts and the power of the [newspaper name deleted] brand." 2

Brand names also are valuable on the Internet. "Our strengths are our huge membership and our long experience in serving up an easy-to-use version of the Internet," said a Web site programmer interviewed for this paper. 3