The news as niche

In an interview with Damon Kiesow, online editor of US local the Nashua Telegraph, about the Telegraph’s use of Twitter to deliver breaking news, Kiesow explained the paper’s strategy for targetting a wider audience as niche content for niche interest groups.

While he admitted that any audience gain from one Twitter feed might be incremental, targetting several niche markets through such services could be a low-risk and low-cost way for regional news groups to extend their reach. As Kiesow points out, the content for these audiences might not have to be new content, but selectively repackaged and delivered.

The niche strategy should be tailored to the reader in terms of content and how it’s offered. Set-up in this way, Kiesow says, the potential is there for your site to give a reader the single most important piece of information they will hear that day – a positive goal for any news site.

Providing these services and types of focused content allows the Telegraph to move away from the idea of a newspaper website as an online reproduction of the print product and beyond reaching out to just the readers of the offline edition.

As Alan Mutter points out in his blog post on breaking news formats on local news websites:

While the print product remains the primary business at newspaper companies, their websites are strategically important not only for their long-term revenue potential but also because of their immediate power to engage readers and, most importantly, non-readers.

Mutter’s post, which analyses a local newspaper’s coverage of a public shooting in Omaha, points out that to provide breaking news coverage, a strategy to deal with such events online should already be in place. The Nashua Telegraph has developed just such a strategy and is expanding this effective and efficient model across its different news channels.

The site’s audience receives content throughout the day – offering breaking and ‘new’ news on a continuous cycle. A cycle created and maintained by a news organisation that, according to Kiesow, doesn’t have enough staff to write headlines for the website, but has innovated around these logistical limitations to find a solution capable of handling not only niche content but also breaking local news.

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