If I worked in the newspaper business
Conventional levels and perspectives on innovation will get you nowhere. To be remarkable, kick-butt, profit-driven remarkable, means that you can no longer engage in predictable, incremental innovation. Instead, you must get on the treadmill in the pursuit of never ending, infinite innovation, creating more and more value for your stakeholders both inside and outside your organisation.
Perhaps that requires laser-like attention on your customers or offering something more stylish or more attractive, or developing a better product, in the end it’s all about survival (at one point, it used to be about winning.)
Innovation=Infinite. Innovation = Sustainability. That’s why all the talk in blogsphere and on twitter about the demise of traditional media eally refers to the industry’s slow responses to our internet-on-steroids world. The truth is if you grew up in the 80s then you probably don’t know of a world without the Web and it means that the way you get your news would be decidedly different.
There are 6 million blogs tracked by on-line services and they are packed with opinions and news on everything. TweetNews developed by Yahoo was built to break news of any major happening in any part of the word long before the networks’ cameras and reporters gets there. And Google News remains an important service for many corporations trying to monitor articles and news about their own company, competitors or topics of interest. All this has spelt a death march for media as we know it. Web 1.0 was so yesterday. Today, Web 2.0 demands that traditional media formulates not just a competitive strategy but a sensational one, which entails playing an entirely different game on an entirely different field.
In broadcast media, CNN, knew exactly the new rules that needed to be learned. Last week at a session at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus CNN producer, Sam Feist, explained how the news gathering operation is staffed with a mix of traditional, general assignment reporters and all-platform journalists who blog,create podcasts, use and share video and utilise new technologies along with traditional journalism skills to gather news. The change is also systemic. CNN’s inauguration experiment with facebook took media and social interactivity to a whole experience. CNN did not have to innovate. They could have held onto to their monopoly position and grow complacent. They chose not to.
Feist says traditional media can survive and in fact thrive when they embrace the ways of new media (transparency, interactivity, immediacy, participation) and marry it with the best practices of old media (fairness, accuracy). If I worked in the newspaper business I’d pay close attention to this. I’d take a careful look at my business model and ask: Who are my existing users? What are the big issues/interests in our area? (e.g. local industries, popular activities, events, attractions, personalities, etc.) What services would fill a need there? How does my paper promote interactivity? What do my readers write or search for? What should I do to make my content easier to orgaise and search for? How can our reporters be retrained?
Navigating an uncertain path to the future is never easy. It will require unconventional perspectives on how to innovate but look at the alternative the newspapers face: huge debt, high costs, declining subscription rates, plummeting ad base, and you’ll realise that there is no other way.