Sound bites from What’s New, What’s Next

By Rachel Podnar
Ball State University

Community engagement, specialization and revenue were on the agenda in the What’s New, What’s Next panel. Alfredo Carabajal, Mizell Stewart and Ken Doctor pulled in their expertise to weigh in on what newsrooms need to be focusing on now.

Here are some key takeaways from each panelist.

Alfredo Carabajal, managing editor at Al Dia at The Dallas Morning News

avatar.jpg.320x320px (2)On visual storytelling:

“What we call news, what we call stories, it’s a mental construct. We need people to read our stories, when actually people consume content very differently. The different kind of storytelling we need to do is very visual. You have a long enterprise story, and you add photos and videos to get traffic. Adding comes after, that’s extra. The storytelling should be driven by visual.

Every content producer needs to be a good marketer. Especially in the intersection of mobile and social media.”

On new audiences:

“I believe there are still new audiences to be conquered. We continue to define audience as the people that at some point chose to give us money to get a print paper, and we struggle with that idea to go beyond that. Now, everybody who has a smart phone is potentially your audience.”

Mizell Stewart, managing director/chief content officer, Journal Media Group

avatar.jpg.320x320px (4)On getting away from the “general store” mentality:

“We need to be able to do a select number of things extraordinarily well. It’s not good enough to be all things to all people anymore. Editors have to be far more focused on identifying what’s working and doing more of that and being willing to make the hard decision to do less on areas that are not working.”

On revenue:

“Digital transformation on newsroom side is far more advanced than the digital transformation on the revenue side.”

On meetings:

“The meeting drives the culture. When the news meeting changed, the attitudes in the newsroom changed. When the morning news meeting became how are we doing on digital, what are we doing today, that began to change things. The reality is that by 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., you kind of have an idea of what you are going to put on page one. We can do print in our sleep. We don’t need to get into a meeting to do print.”

Ken Doctor, author and industry analyst on emerging Newsonomics

avatar.jpg.320x320px (3)On what people really want:

“It is absolutely, rigorously starting with what people want. They actually want journalism, they want civic knowledge. The advertising world is in complete chaos, more so now than it was six months ago. Reader revenue can be rebuilt and can pay most of journalism.”

On engagement and money:

“[The more engaged a reader is] measured by time on site, frequency and experience of a reader reading more kind of content. [From the NYTimes] they read one kind of content their level is here, if they are reading three types you’re never going to lose them. If they are a paying reader, they are much more likely to stay paying readers and they are much more likely to take a price increase.”

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