Loyal readers though we are, we still had trouble puzzling through this one from Editor and Publisher:

So although use of the Internet for news is associated with an increase in local newspaper readership, according to our April 2005 national survey, use of the Internet in seven or more different ways is associated with a decline in readership of local newspapers and watching television news during a seven-day period – and an increase in reading a national newspaper, a national news magazine, or a local business journal.

Seven or more different ways? Like, more than seven sites? Seven different protocols?

To clarify, this is followed by a bit of marketing wisdom: For instance, consideration might be given to adapting and adopting the Chinese practice of bao ting – posting newspapers where they can be read by pedestrians who tend to be young, open to change, and on the move.

Selling papers to people on the street. Now where have I heard of that before?

This all from an article entitled, “SAGE ADVICE: To Meet Web Challenge, A Newspaper Overhaul.”

Some old information that still rings true for editors is worth repeating however: Editors should assume that their readers are aware of events in progress and are turning to the newspaper to learn about their details and implications. In the world of the Internet, newspapers need to be edited as if they were daily magazines.

Interesting concept, but how true is it when applied to local news? Most normal communities (New York and D.C. are anything but) don’t have the sort of mass-blogging attention paid that would deam the front page old hat … yet.