Wave 2 Blog

Newsrooms need a culture change too

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of automated publishing solutions, working with some of the biggest (and smallest) names in newspaper publishing, we know at first-hand how important technological innovation is within the publishing industry. It’s vital.

But here’s the thing – on its own technology is not enough. An entire organisation needs to buy into the changes being made and adapt accordingly. We’ve seen this recently with one of our latest clients, Kent Messenger Media Group (you can read the press release here), who have certainly grasped the importance of changing their internal culture.

At the heart of our contract with KM Media Group is its strategic decision to wrap all its digital services into one single offering for advertisers. This includes web, internet TV and radio. Yet a hugely significant aspect of this change is KM Media Group’s drive to ‘develop its internal culture from just a print-based business model to a broader multimedia model’.

That’s why we were intrigued to come across two articles in the US trade press which both examined this issue in some detail. The first feature was published recently in MediaShift. Entitled, “Study Finds Legacy Newsrooms Embrace Innovation, But Not Cultural Change”, the piece looks at why newsrooms have mostly embraced technological innovations but responded less well to relational changes.

Without wishing to repeat the article, the conclusion eventually garnered by the academic researchers found that whilst it’s important to ‘communicate clear expectations to the newsroom’, it’s also ‘vital to create an environment where experimentation and risk-taking are encouraged’. That last point is one we agree with wholeheartedly – in our experience (as suppliers of self-service advertising solutions to newspapers) it’s absolutely essential.

The second feature we came across also appeared this month, this time in The International News Media Association (INMA) blog section. It looks at how the Toronto Star’s tablet app has led to a deep editorial transformation, inspiring a ‘screen-first’ editorial approach whilst transforming the newsroom and encouraging deeper reader engagement.

Key to this transformation is the realisation that, ‘News is no longer the prose report of an event that will sometimes be illustrated. Now the news is a kernel of idea, emotion, and excitement that can be communicated powerfully and memorably combining the impact of multiple media — text, video, sound, graphic’.

We can relate to all of the above, not just the importance of cultural change in a news organisation but also with it the impact of rich multimedia and tech innovation. All three go hand in hand.

It’s a key component of our newly-updated self-service advertising solution, AdPortal. The solution provides an intelligent journey where the advertiser makes selections according to what they would like to achieve rather than just a ‘sell an ad’ workflow.

Whilst the user goes through a simple selection process, AdPortal generates the relevant packages and presents these to the advertiser and then gives them an advanced but very simple ad creation tool to customise their digital campaign. The finalised campaigns are served across multiple platforms including desktop, tablets and mobile phones and make the selling of digital display advertising cost effective and productive.

For ad sales departments and commercial teams, these last two points are significant – it frees them up to chase higher value ad orders as well as develop stronger personal relationships with key accounts.

It also demands a shift in culture and for newspapers to ask their advertisers, “What is it you’d like to achieve?”