Summary- Newspapers Innovate: An innovative approach to newspapers is being launched in the Czech Republic: A (very) well-funded group will open cafes linked to the newsrooms of hyperlocal papers (to be published by the group). Many Europeans like their espresso with their newspaper (and vice versa) so why not?
Yes, we have promised that this blog is not about newspapers, but we cannot help but look for innovations while all around us people are singing dirges. The New York Times reported that a new venture has launched in the Czech Republic to publish hyperlocal newspapers in four cities and to open associated cafes. View NY Times Article
PPF Group will soon publish multiple local newspapers on a weekly basis, in addition to multiple websites (can you say “repurpose?”), plus they will open cafes that will be next to—I mean right next to—the newsrooms for these papers. Literally, the door will be open to the newsroom of each paper.
In addition, visitors will get help on such matters as building their social network profiles or other training on Internet skills. The entire t project will be branded “Nasa Adresa” or “Our Address.” They may try to scale the model to elsewhere across Europe.
Oh yes, a couple of minor bits of information: PPF Group has about a gejillion dollars (though they are putting about $13.4m into it). And, oh yeah, I knew we forgot something: Google is a major participant, providing the training and, of course, the advertising. It just so happens that Google is not first in search in the Czech Republic.
So, it might be a good model. The cross-platform approach adds the “real world” and the recognition that a “Café Society” is an optimal place to create an intersection of social practices.
Then again, its “goodness” as a model may depend largely upon the unusual circumstances there, to wit:
- Czech is not spoken by a large number of people, so there is not a lot of space for competition, especially from major players who need large scale; only those who take localization seriously—e.g., Google—would have a chance.
- The Czechs have a “Café Society,” which in this case means that people go to cafes and sit there to read the paper, a novel, etc. It is much like Paris. However, in other countries, e.g., Italy, patrons do not linger in their cafes; in fact, many coffeehouses there do not have chairs (except in their restaurant sections). The Italians named their coffee espresso for a reason.
- Europeans like their newspapers. The hyperlocal approach, though relatively novel, has its appeal, especially in new democracies. Think of the broadsheets and pamphleteers of England over the centuries.