This is the handout I prepared for a newsroom leadership workshop for the Maynard Academy today at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. Here are my slides for the presentation.
The business models that have supported traditional media for decades are breaking down. Some critical elements of the economic crisis:
- Newspaper circulation was 31% of U.S. population in 1940, 13% today.
- Newspaper advertising has dropped vs. previous year 13 straight quarters (7 straight over 10%, 3 straight over 20%).
- Magazine advertising revenue in 2009 fell 17% from previous year.
- Local broadcast TV ad revenue fell 22% in 2009.
- The problem is not giving content away free online (we never supported content operations with circulation revenue; that pays for production & distribution).
The Complete Community Connection
To remain relevant for the future, journalists and media organizations need to master digital and social media and develop new revenue streams. My Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection proposes a new business model for community media companies. The core goals:
- Like people turn to Google for multiple needs, people will turn to C3 for whatever they need in and about their community, wherever they are.
- Businesses will turn to C3 to connect with their customers and where possible, C3 will conduct the transactions with customers.
- We have to move beyond advertising. Advertising is still a service we offer businesses, but only one of many.
- C3 will handle direct sales for business customers (tickets to entertainment and sports events, reservations, gift registries, sports paraphernalia).
- Where we can’t make the sale, we will help connect businesses with customers who most need or want their products or services through targeted advertising and lead generation.
- We will pursue other opportunities such as sponsorships, events, mobile apps.
Aspects of C3
- Community content (driving, home, conversation, calendar, knowledge)
- Personal content (births, graduations, weddings, schools, etc.)
- Entertainment (fun stuff, entertainment news, user content, games)
- Business services (local search, direct sales, communication services)
- Enriched news (what’s happening now, community engagement, multimedia)
- Web-first is “fighting the last war.” News organizations need mobile-first focus.
- Executives need to make mobile opportunities top priority companywide.
- Newsrooms need to design and present content for easy mobile use.
- News organizations’ IT staffs need to develop mobile applications for news products and for business customers.
- Sales organizations sell location-based, transaction-based opportunities and apps.
Newsroom involvement in business innovation
- Newsrooms feel cuts when companies fail to innovate in their business models.
- Protect the ethical value of independence but don’t protect organizational silos.
- Journalists can and should be involved in the how of pursuing revenue streams and avoid involvement in the who.
What a newsroom middle manager can do
- Engage in your company’s discussion of innovation efforts.
- Offer to lead (or join) a mobile-first effort for your company.
- If you don’t already use a smart phone, get one. Use it as a consumer and consider the opportunities.
- Lead a newsroom brainstorming discussion about C3 or mobile-first opportunities.
- Push your staff to innovate in news coverage, using Twitter, liveblogging, multimedia, interactive databases and other digital tools.