The Dayton Desperate News

How bad have things gotten for the Dayton Daily News? So bad that now writers are asking their friends to clip coupons and redeem them to prove that advertising in the paper is still relevant:

From: XXXXXX
Date: April 2, 2009 8:15:17 AM EDT

Subject: free coffee for a good cause (namely my job!)

If you like free coffee, and don’t want to see newspapers die, clip this coupon from the DDN next week and redeem at McDonald’s … they’ll be watching to see how effective newspaper advertising really is…

On Wednesday, April 8th, McDonalds will place a strip ad, on the bottom of the front page of the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun, a coupon good for a FREE medium McCafe. Traditionally, McDonald’s has not advertised heavily in newspapers, so this is a chance to prove the value of the newspaper’s reach.  Please take this opportunity to help our common cause by clipping your coupon and visiting your nearest Dayton-area or Springfield-area McDonald’s McCafe.

The problem is, we were never interested in a newsPAPER, we were interested in news- which stems from JOURNALISM, of which there is precious little displayed by the Dayton Daily Newsless. Investigative journalism as practiced by the DDN now consists of copying the police blotter- right down to copying poor cop writing. Proclaiming that the Sunday paper contains $500 worth of coupons is nice, but, the coupons aren’t targeted or relevant to each reader.

If the DDN wants to survive, it needs to reestablish its journalistic chops. Figure out who and what their brand stands for. Build relationships one-on-one with readers, and deliver relevant ads and content that is personalized. The way in which it will be delivered isn’t on paper, but via the same medium that XXXXXX is using to connect with their friends to try to inspire action- electronically.

If giving a product away in an ad is the only way to prove the ad  worthwhile- it’s only proving that the business model is one for losing money.

We need journalism in this community, unfortunately, that’s not what the DDN has been selling for the last 5+ years. If XXXXX really wants to keep that job, it’s not going to be by giving away free coffee.

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