Newspapers have many resources that are either unique for them, or at least better than many others who pretend to compete. Some of those resources are well developed and well-utilized. Most are not.
Perhaps the resource with the greatest potential at this point, and with the largest upside opportunity is made up of newspaper subscribers. These are people who spend real money to buy real newspapers.
When was the last time that you got something in e-mail, or via any other medium, that made you think that you were special because you subscribe to that newspaper? I cannot recall getting something like that in a very long time.
My own print subscriptions today are two newspapers - The New York Times and the Herald-Sun in Durham, NC.
Each occasionally sends me a note about a rate increase and the odd promotional item, but do I receive anything that calls my attention to something that the newspaper did that ought to be important to me, some reinforcement of content that I might already have seen, but would like to be told just in case I missed it inbetween the driveway and the recycling bin? No.
What a huge missed opportunity to treat us all as individuals and paying customers. Instead, we are considered simply one of all subscribers and treated as a blob.
Why aren't newspapers looking for ways to bring the newspaper relationship to people, one by one, drawing on all of the computer and communications technologies available to them. Competitors do not have us subscribers and I think we ought to be mobilized in new ways to draw more out of "our" newspapers and spread the value that we get within our community instead of primarily dumping it all into that recycling bin.