My job search is over, and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be returning to a newsroom, a couple in fact, as a regional executive editor overseeing two Gannett-owned newspapers in the US.
This is the paradox of journalism in the digital age: Journalism organisations reach more people than was ever possible in the analogue age, but those larger audiences have not translated into higher revenues. Some of this has been almost constant pressure of digital ad revenues since the beginning of the financial crisis, driven by an oversupply of ad space. Digital… Read more →
David Higgerson, the digital publishing director for the regional websites within Trinity Mirror, believes that the January storms here in the UK challenge the recent fervour for paid content. I think that he’s clear-headed about the competitive environment that journalism is in, but I also think that paid content strategies have evolved. They have got smarter and more flexible, which is the only chance they have of being successful.
Frédéric Filloux worries that in 2014 publishers will add to the downward pressure on digital ad rates by auctioning their remnant advertising on RTB – real-time bidding – platforms. However, RTB is much more than ad networks 2.0, and smart publishers are already using their own data to fuel private exchanges to make sure that RTB isn’t simply a race to the bottom. News groups, especially those gaining user data through paid content strategies, must engage with RTB. It’s not just about facing reality but also about seizing the opportunity of premium ad targeting.
Media management prof Charles Warner thinks that media companies lack innovation because they are driven by an individualistic, star-obsessed culture. Good corporate culture are rare and take a lot of work, and while I don’t think it’s going to be the magic cure-all for the woes of media suffering digital disruption, media companies cannot afford the dysfunctional internal dynamics of their past.
Walt Mossberg is taking the tech franchise he built with Kara Swisher and others, AllThingsD, out on its own. In an ‘exit interview’ with Mashable, he reflects on his time at the Wall Street Journal and journalism. He has some great advice for journalists on how to succeed in the digital era.
Reminding me of the brilliant conversations that we had in the early days of journalism blogging, I’ve recently been discussing how newspapers expand what they cover in their communities and how they set priorities. The issue of priorities came out loud of clear from working journalists who feel stretched thin. To do more with less, I think, quite passionately so, that we can forge a new partnership with our communities.
John Robinson, a former editor in the US, has challenged newspaper to break out of their paradigms and choose a niche. His call to action in many ways reminds me of 2007 report called the Frontiers of Innovation that challenged newspapers to do a better job of “translating the lived experience of their community”. The challenge in 2013 is a lot harder for most community newspapers. How do they broaden their agendas when their staff has shrunk? It is going to take newsroom leaders who can set out a strategic vision and prioritise their remaining resources. We can’t be everything to everyone anymore so it is better to be something to some.
Comments are broken! That’s been a common refrain lately, and while I do think comments are a mess, I think this is down to a lack of strategic thinking around audience engagement and passive, or non-existent, community management strategies. It’s not rocket science though, and Lifehacker has shown a simple way to foster good conversations online.
The discussion around paid content in journalism has moved on from the silly, binary free versus paid discussion to a sense that journalism has always been paid for by a mix of revenue from advertisers and revenue from readers. That mix is changing and is quite fluid at the moment. As some news groups ask people to pay for content they used to receive for free, leaders in those groups will have to ask: Will consumers see a change from free to paid as simply a change in price or a change in their relationship to news organisations? Consumers will accept one but reject, often with disastrous results, the other.