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“It’s hard to predict things, particularly things in the future” -- Yogi Berra, Yankee Great. What a Change …. … from April 2005, ASNE. One panel on the Future of Newspapers Another on young readers. … to October 2005, APME. New Competitors; New Demands The New Normal

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“It’s hard to predict things,

particularly things in the future”-- Yogi Berra, Yankee Great

from april 2005 asne
… from April 2005, ASNE
  • One panel on the Future of Newspapers
  • Another on young readers
to october 2005 apme
… to October 2005, APME
  • New Competitors; New Demands
  • The New Normal
  • Our Shrinking Newsrooms
  • New Products for New Readers
  • News on the Web
  • Convergence
was it rupert
Was it Rupert?

“… as an industry, many of us have been remarkably, unaccountably complacent. Certainly, I didn’t do as much as I should have after all the excitement of the late 1990’s. I suspect many of you in this room did the same, quietly hoping that this thing called the digital revolution would just limp along.”

  • ASNE, April 13, 2005
was it all those bloggers
Was it all Those Bloggers?
  • A blogger is just “a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”
    • Jonathan Klein,

President, CNN/US

the blogosphere
The Blogosphere
  • Technorati ( reports:
    • 19.6 million web logs
    • About 70,000 new blogs tracked each day
      • 1 new blog every second
    • 55% still posting after three months
    • 700,000 -1.3 Million posts each day
      • 33,000 posts per hour
    • Blogosphere doubles in size every 5.5 months
was it this man
Was it this Man?
  • Craigslist
    • Taking $50-$65 million/year out of Bay Area class market
      • (Compare that to your newsroom budget)
    • Localizes ad listings in 120 cities in 21 countries
    • Overall reach: 34 countries, 175 cities
  • Visits up 62% since 2004
    • Number tripled in past year to 2.4 billion a month
whatever the reason

Whatever the Reason …

… an industry that

wouldn’t change…

10 years ago
… 10 Years Ago
  • “Newspapers have made almost every kind of radical move except transforming themselves. It's as if they've considered every possible option but the most urgent – change. … That makes newspapers the biggest and saddest losers in the information revolution”
        • Jon Katz, Wired magazine, 09/1994
or even last year
… or Even Last Year
  • “Despite the new demands, there is more evidence than ever that the mainstream media are investing only cautiously in building new audiences”
    • State of the News Media, 2005, Project for Excellence in Journalism
beginning to change

… Beginning to Change





news is a conversation

News is a Conversation

… So Let’s Join In

change communication
Change: Communication

“Readers and Web site users now feel free to challenge decision makers here, a development many of us in the newsroom welcome, although some editors resent the second-guessing. Get used to it. … Interactivity is the future. People want to be heard.”

  • Bob Rivard,

Editor, San Antonio Express-News


change communication1
Change: Communication

“Our public editor, Ted Vaden, posted … on a conference on journalism and blogging. He quotes media critic Jay Rosen (whose PressThink blog is well-traveled) saying journalists are ‘used to being the filter from God, but people don't accept that anymore.’ Heavens. Perhaps Rosen has spent too much time peering at journalism through the lens of his computer screen.”

  • Melanie Sill,

Editor, Raleigh News & Observer


change convergence
Change: Convergence
  • Merging print & online
    • “… One of the biggest long-term challenges facing our craft is to invent a digital journalism and new services for our readers that both live up to our high standards and help carry the cost of a great news-gathering organization.”
        • Bill Keller

Executive Editor, New York Times


readers seen one product
Readers Seen One Product
  • "A significant percentage of newspaper readers have transferred their preference from print to online editions"
        • Gerry Davidson, Nielsen//NetRatings
change content
Change: Content

“We are going to change the character and content of the paper without undermining our journalistic principles.”

  • Earl Maucker, Editor

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel


change content1
Change: Content

“We gave up on being all things to all people. What we hope to be is some very meaningful things to the distinct reader groups we’ve identified.”

  • Monica Moses,

Deputy M.E.

Star Tribune


change commerce
Change: Commerce
  • Papers being born …
    • “The Examiner papers -- the name has been trademarked in more than 60 cities around the nation -- are attempting to carve out a niche in which their snappy graphics and succinct articles find a place among busy urban readers.”
        • Baltimore Sun, 10/18/05
change commerce1
Change: Commerce
  • Papers being closed
    • ``The publications have been losing money consistently for several years. Despite our best efforts to increase revenue, we simply have not been able to gain the level of support to be financially viable.''
        • George Riggs,

Publisher, Mercury News


no more accidental journalism
No More Accidental Journalism
  • Page 1 is “often a happy accident”
    • Says editor at a top 20 U.S. newspaper (not this one)
  • That means it is:
    • Haphazard vs. thoughtful
    • Opportunistic vs. planned
    • Luck of the daily draw vs. drawn from a long-term strategy
intentional journalism
Intentional Journalism
  • Ask yourself this:
    • You’re given your current newsroom budget and told: Make any kind of news operation you want.
    • Would you make the same newspaper?
    • Would you create the same beats, departments, production and decision-making processes?
    • Would you hire the same people?
    • Would you design the paper and its web site in the same formats?
of course not


So … how do we overcome the inertia, culture and tradition that keep us from changing?

newspaper culture
Newspaper Culture
  • Aggressive-Defensive
    • People forcefully protect status and security
    • Perfectionistic: Avoid all mistakes
    • Oppositional: Poor group problem-solving and "watered-down" solutions
    • Pervasive in fast-paced environments
  • Passive-Defensive
    • Dependent and conventional behaviors
    • Do what it takes to please others
    • Jobs narrowly defined
    • Success not celebrated, but mistakes punished
    • “Protected" organizations: government agencies, regulated and monopoly industries
        • Readership Institute
explode the newsroom

Explode the Newsroom

Re-think, Refocus, Re-invent

Seven Ideas to Build On

explode the newsroom1
Explode the Newsroom
  • Don’t Tinker, Explode
    • Big rewards come from big bets, bold moves into new territory – tabs, niches, citizen journalism, blogs
    • Adding a columnist or rearranging type-faces isn’t enough
    • Papers that survive will have learned how to adapt and exploit current emerging markets.
    • Risk-taking is a learnable skill. Teach it. Reward it.
explode the newsroom2
Explode the Newsroom
  • The 10% Solution
    • Devote 10 percent of the newsroom budget each year to product and staff development
    • Goal: Restructuring traditional, content silos
    • Goal: People who have the cross-disciplinary skills.
    • You can’t change your newspaper over night, but you can do it in a decade – 10 percent at a time
explode the newsroom3
Explode the Newsroom
  • Go Horizontal, Not Vertical
    • Tear down the Sports, News, Features and Business silos
      • Reconstitute around virtual communities: Moms, singles, baseball fans, age, etc.
      • Want younger readers, for example? Devote a department’s worth of editors, reporters, photographers, designers and online producers
explode the newsroom4
Explode the Newsroom
  • Go Weekly -- Every Day
    • Mass is dead; class matters
    • Old: A little for everyone
    • New: More for fewer
    • Old: Mass media
    • New: A mass of niches
explode the newsroom5
Explode the Newsroom
  • Be the Tip of the Information Iceberg
    • Reverse the print-online priority equation
    • Publish more online than in print
    • Print can’t match the:
      • Virtual newshole
      • Endless conversation
      • Power of relational advertising
explode the newsroom6
Explode the Newsroom
  • Lead from the Middle, Not the Top
    • You cannot lead from behind the desk
    • Reporters and line editors want direction, want to learn
    • Edit more, manage less
      • Get the editors out of the offices and onto the newsroom floor
explode the newsroom7
Explode the Newsroom
  • Don’t Cover the Community, Be the Community*
    • Empower readers, enable citizen journalism
    • Aggregate and celebrate their voices
    • Get engaged. Lead civic discourse. Be on the side of the people
    • Dig, dig, dig – into the public officials, civic and corporate institutions and the flow of money. This is a differentiating capability of newspapers.

* (Thanks to Hodding Carter)

explode the newsroom8
Explode the Newsroom
  • Seven Ideas to Build On
      • Don’t Tinker, Explode
      • The 10% Solution
      • Structure Horizontally, Not Vertically
      • Go Weekly -- Every Day
      • Be the Tip of the Information Iceberg
      • Lead from the Middle, Not the Top
      • Don’t Cover the Community, Be the Community


Tim Porter