Can Newspapers Survive? Yes.

Last week Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, bought the Washington Post in a move that surprised the newspaper world. The initial shock turned to welcome for a man who many believe understands the core values of the newspaper and will bring a desperately needed new business model to the industry.

The Washington Post like many other newspapers has a long history and proud tradition of serving its community but the era of digital media is changing everything.

More people are getting their news from digital sources. Mobile phones, in particular, are having an effect as people use them to keep up with the latest news.

Many traditional newspapers have been slow to engage with digital and few have worked out how to make it pay, ironically at a time when the demand for content has never been higher.

For many papers the move to digital has meant falling circulation and reduced income, as critical profit generating areas such as classified ads move online.

The challenge for newspapers and their owners is real and immediate but luckily there are a number of things they can do.

First, invest in the retraining and recruitment of staff to combine the old fashioned art of storytelling with the new skills of digital media.

Second, increase focus on key organisational strengths and outsource other areas of the business to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.

Third, build on the strength and depth of relationships with the communities they serve to create rich content relevant to a digital world.

Fourth, leverage the strength of their brand’s recognition to work with and support small businesses to survive and grow and create jobs.

Traditionally, papers have been successful by finding and telling stories of interest and relevance to the reader. The same job needs to be done today; stories, albeit now in traditional and digital formats, need to be told.

Newspapers can thrive in the years ahead but they must build on their tradition of storytelling and engage a new and increasingly digital audience.

SO, newspapers have always been committed to telling the story, now it has to be done in a way that combines the best of the old with the new: traditional journalism and digital technology.

What about you?

Do you think newspapers can survive?

Look forward to hearing your stories and feedback in the comments below.