I’m still shaking my head over the American Press Institute’s announcement of a closed-door, invitation-only emergency meeting of only CEO-level newspaper executives to, in the words of E&P “ponder ways to revive the newspaper business.”
This is the last thing the newspaper industry needs.
This will be a quick post. I'll get more on the topic of old media vs. new in a while but I wanted to share this little tidbit of news.
A closed door meeting by the old heads and bean-counters who have constantly failed to create any solutions for newspapers in the first place is a terrible idea. I'd present my list of what needs to be done, but I'll refer to A Photo Editor instead (the list is decent, but more on that later.)
Here are my 5 easy steps to making the transition to a new media economy:
Plow all of your profits back into the your company. Then get into the savings account an grab some of the profits from the 90’s when you were getting obscenely rich off your advertisers and plow some of that back into the product. Use it to make mistakes.
Gather all the employees you were about to fire because they don’t fit in so well with your organization or because they are too green to have mastered traditional publishing and give them promotions. Put them in charge. Gather all the people you’ve trained to say no to change and yes to whatever you say is good and fire them (ok I know this will mean there is nobody left in accounting and IT so keep a few of them around but maybe go for the junior ones).
Now, add staff and make everyone spend half the day doing traditional print work and half the day working on the online thing (it’s not a magazine). Make sure they try lots of crazy ideas and make lots of mistakes.
Invest in your contributors. You spend a tiny fraction of your production costs on the contributors yet the product without them is worthless. If you don’t start building some loyalty with your content creators they will leave you when a better deal comes along.
Photography is the key. Figure out how to use it. Video online is TV. We already know that works. Text online is, well, it’s great to read at a certain length but you know, it’s always going to work better printed. Photography is the perfect medium for communication online.
Change or die. It’s up to you.
A Photo Editor – A Call For Change In The Publishing Industry (emphasis added)