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.
News organisations are still facing a lot of challenges. You only have to look at continued cost cutting at large groups including Tribune Group and Gannett as well as the failure to launch of Reuters Next to see that we’re still in a period of significant disruption. However, we are also learning how to be more nimble and experiment more successfully, and Joy Mayer and LSE’s Charlie Beckett’s have some good suggestions on how to get better faster.
A number of forward-looking editors and media managers are advocating a mobile first mindset as the mobile revolution becomes a reality. In a great overview of a recent Hacks/Hackers talk in Buenos Aires, US National Public Radio’s news app editor Brian Boyer explains why mobile doesn’t mean on the move anymore and why we should be creating content for audiences’ “cracks in the day”.
Newspapers and print media saw the ‘asteroid’ coming, as Neil Thackray of Briefing Media put it, but like so many other industries facing disruption, they failed to adapt. In this piece that originally appeared on The Media Briefing, I look at ways that news organisation can increase experimentation and therefore increase their ability to adapt to the rapid changes that digital is bringing to their industry.
When Steve Ballmer announced that he was retiring, I said on Twitter that the announcement was unsurprising but that Microsoft needed a surprise to replace him. Ever since Microsoftie Stephen Elop took the helm of Nokia, everyone has been predicting that Microsoft would scoop up the fallen mobile giant. The speculation only intensified when Elop decided that the only way… Read more →
Pat Smith at The Media Briefing has highlighted that in the past year sales of UK newspapers have dropped by 1.4 m copies while Netflix subscriptions have increased by 1.5 m. Coincidence? While it would be hard to prove that Netflix has directly taken those subscribers, it does highlight again how in the attention economy, journalism is battling against everything else that people choose when making decisions on how to spend their disposable income and their disposable attention.
Modern multimedia, mobile and web technology make it easier than ever to create incredible digital journalism stories, but organisational change, especially for newspapers with diminishing resources, is still incredibly hard. Canada’s David Cadogan has written a great article providing the history of battles he fought, and sadly, often lost to bring change to the industry. It’s worth reading not only for his part in the early history of digital journalism but also to understand the challenges we still face
Journalism professor Carl Sessions Stepp celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first published story with a series in the American Journalism review highlighting 50 lessons that he’s learned in 50 years. In terms of digital journalism, he says that “software matters more than hardware” now when it comes to journalism innovation.