Save The Strib!

As Ellen Mrja of The Same Rowdy Crowd pointed out last week, the launch of arrives with a heavy dose of irony. The employees of the Star Tribune have turned to the very medium that helped render obsolete the very economic model that has sustained newspapers in an effort to save theirs.

I grew up reading the Star Tribune sports pages so I have the same fond nostalgia for newsprint and I’m just as concerned as the next guy about the future of journalism in the face of its crumbling economic model.  And it’s that emotion that the site appeals to but it seems to me that appeal preaches to the choir.  The problem newspapers have is the only readers they retain are Boomers and some Xers.

The video on the site features a parade of esteemed local Boomers extolling the virtues of a bygone age.

Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul Area Synod says “To be able to settle in and soak in information and reflect on it and then hear public conversation around it; there’s no other vehicle that does that for us.”

Really? Really?!? Makes you wonder if the Bishop has ever gone online.

That quote really gets to the problem with the site as a marketing vehicle. Boomers may have money to give, but what the site is trying to is convince prospective owners that there’s an audience for the Strib that can sustain it economically.  To prove that, they need to appeal to Millennials and and younger Xers, who largely don’t like print.

And their language is that of social media, a tongue appears to barely understand.

As I said, the whole site is demographically mis-targeted.

The video, in addition to featuring no Millennials and only two or three people who could be Xers, is not portable: The site offers no code to copy and paste into a blog or Web site in order to extend their message.

In the About section of the site, they discuss their predicament and ask for ideas yet at the bottom of the page, no comments are allowed. That’s about as old media as you can get. - Comments Are Closed - 04/08/09

The Twitter presence is much better, with some actual conversation occurring there, but there again, Twitter is largely an Xer medium, so they aren’t reaching many Millennials there.

They’ve created a Facebook Group with more than 1700 members but there is little activity within the venue that has the most promise for attracting Millennial support. There is not even a link to Save The Strib’s online petition on the page.

I support them and wish them success–I really do–and I don’t mean to be harsh, but it seems to me their online advocacy isn’t doing nearly what it needs to do.

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