Hope – What newspapers need to do to survive
Edward Roussel, head of digital at the Telegraph in London, writes an inspired essay telling newspapers what they should do – if it isn’t too late.
He makes 10 strong suggestions (I like 7-10):
7. Nimble, low-cost structures. “About 75 percent of newspaper costs have nothing to do with the creation of editorial content…. Newspaper companies are bad at technology, so a digitally minded chief technology officer will be able to get cheaper and more effective services by outsourcing. Newspaper sales teams don’t do particularly well at selling ads on the Internet; too often they sell ads that are irrelevant to a reader’s interests in an era when Google has made relevance key. If your sales team can’t beat Google, then outsource to Google.”
8. Invest in the Web. “Don’t try to suck too much revenue from your fledgling network. Your Web site needs investment before it can fly… A Web revenue-growth model cannot simply be a mirror image of the decline in your newspaper sales.”
9. Shake up leadership. “…If the people who run your newsroom aren’t passionate about your digital future, it’s certain not to materialize.”
10. Experiment. “…Don’t be afraid of failure. Try new projects, see what works, and build on success.”