What newsrooms must do to survive in the digital age
Around mid-September, Lagos-based The Journalism Clinic hosted the first Media Leaders’ Summit in Nigeria. Over two days, speakers and participants looked at all options to reshape the country’s media landscape for increased reach, relevance and revenue.
Journalism should heal society
“It is my hope that we will participate actively and explore all the possibilities and come up with the enduring solutions that we can take away to tackle the various challenges which have been keeping the industry down,” convener and founder of The Journalism Clinic Taiwo Obe said in his welcome address, at the TCC Resort and Conference Centre in Ogere, Ogun State.
While making his own presentation (Rethinking Content: “Old Jobs, New Approaches”) on the summit’s second day, Obe said that while journalism is widely regarded as a mirror of the society, it should also heal society in equal measure.
“It is important for Journalism anywhere in the world to help society,” Obe, a Commonwealth Professional Fellow, said.
In his keynote speech titled “Good Journalism is the beginning and the end”, President of the Innovation Media Consulting Group Juan Senor said that the media’s original sin was its decision years back to give information to the public free online.
This free-for-all model needs to stop immediately, he argued. Publishers, he said, “need to build a newsroom that will deliver content worth paying for”, because “good journalism is good business.”
Less mono-media, more multimedia
The future of newsrooms, he added, is one where all the different platforms — radio, television, online — are integrated and knitted one to the other with a seamless operational manual.
Outlining multiple options open to media establishments to widen their revenue net, he also emphasised that they need to equally institute both a commercial and editorial model to ensure sustainability.
At the summit, Senor shared several insights about the state of the global media–from Brazil and Spain to Japan and Colombia. And the US and UK. And Russia. And Switzerland.
“You know your company, ” he said in the middle of his presentation. “We know the industry.”
Senor, who cut his teeth in journalism as a war reporter, aged 19, now consults for dozens of big and notable brands, brands media professionals worldwide regard highly. And his Innovation Media Consulting Group publishes a couple of annual industry reports that examine current trends and predict future ones.
Done consistently in the last 21 years, they are reports serious media professionals snap up without second thoughts.
Senor’s 21 Commandments
Find below, some of his advice on what you should be doing — as a journalist or media owner — to operate successfully in an increasingly digital ecosystem.
(1) Your job is NOT to sell information: your job is to sell intelligence.
(2) If your media is just reportorial, you have no business. You’re not adding any value to your audience.
(3) You need to build a newsroom that will deliver content worth paying for.
(4) Change your newsroom, change your fortunes.
(5) Let other people break/tell the news. You explain the news, and you have a business forever.
(6) Don’t spend money on syndication, create your own content.
(7) Develop stories, don’t just tell them.
(8) Charge or die.
(9) Specialisation is everything in journalism.
(10) Good journalism is good business.
(11) If you cannot publish without fear or favour, then you have no business.
(12) At the end of the day, only journalism will save journalism — journalism worth paying for, worth subscribing to.
(13) You will never be a digital company if your logic follows the paper logic.
(14) Advertising is moving away from demographics to psychographics.
(15) There is more money to be made in digital, but you’re not making it. You need to have a digital paid strategy.
(16) Print revenues are falling. Protect them all you want, they will never come up. As media owners you should be looking at increasing reader revenues.
(17) In the history of the media, no media has ever killed another medium. What has died is the medium of distribution… Radio has evolved into podcasting. Digital has moved into the space of print. Magazines into the space of books, and print has moved online.
(18) A journalist wants to tell a good story and for it to have an impact. Our platforms are our voice.
(19) You pay [dozens of] people to come to your newsroom to make a paper when all Nigerians are on digital? There is a disconnect.”
(20) The linear, vertical story is dead. Interactive, multimedia storytelling is the new normal.
(21) There are no digital miracles.
Culled from the Daily Report by Pelu Awofeso