Monday, August 3, 2009

Ten steps news organizations should take to embrace a multimedia future

My week with Brian Storm and his team at MediaStorm in New York caused me to reflect on what the future of journalism and journalism organizations might look like.

Today’s journalists might not be the ones to figure it out. That task might fall to the next generation of digital natives. I don’t mean kids who grew up with computers. There are already plenty of those in newsrooms. I mean kids who grew up with computers - and Final Cut Pro and other relatively low-cost, high quality digital gear to play with. The key word is play. Journalists can take themselves too seriously. I think there’s room for serious play, and if any space is suited for it, I think it’s multimedia. It’s got to be the most exciting area in journalism right now. So much more is possible than ever before. Why wouldn’t news organizations take advantage of that?

We’re in a period of invention. It was clear from my experience at MediaStorm that multimedia produced by them and others builds on the traditions of still photography, documentary filmmaking and radio storytelling. But something new is happening. That’s driven in part by rapidly changing technology. So many more people can do this work today, because the equipment - everything from laptops to cameras - is so readily available at a reasonable price. And the price of the equipment is still coming down while the quality is still going up. This has made it possible for all kinds of imaginative stories to be produced by individuals who have nowhere near the resources of traditional news organizations. I see that as an inspiration for journalists to step up. The change is also being driven by the fact that the barriers between media are dissolving. For proof of that, spend some time looking at video game technology and what people are doing in that space. (This video and this video are indicative of how dramatic the developments are.) What’s happening there is defining the visual and experiential expectations of many media users. Expectations are rising. The only way to meet them is to embrace what technology makes possible - without forgetting that the most important thing, no matter the form, remains the story.

The first thing any news organization has to do is establish that it is open to working with all media types and on all platforms. This seems obvious. But it’s necessary. Up till now, many companies have seen themselves as newspapers, or TV stations, or magazines, etc. Now any media company truly can tell stories using the best tools for the content. It's easy to pay lip service to this idea. But it's not cheap or easy to take it seriously. In most cases it is going to require news organizations to add new areas of expertise to their team, either as staff or by building a network of independent players.

Second, news organizations should set up freestanding multimedia departments, with their own P&Ls. (A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses of a business.) If the people doing multimedia work aren’t empowered to push it as far as possible, to experiment as best they see fit, it’s unlikely they will. Let the multimedia department put on events, build exhibits, produce books and other specialty publications, develop educational materials, etc. Give this group - or perhaps a division of the group - the ability to serve commercial or non-profit clients by producing multimedia work for hire. This group is going to need many sources of revenue. It could even seek grants to support its high-level journalistic work. This department can establish standards and workflow for this type of work, just the way the news organization did for its historical product. But it shouldn’t have to bend those standards to fit the old model. Let it invent new ones. It should also not be bound by the geographical definition of any historical organization. This group could produce work touching on universal themes that are not bound by place.

Third, be patient. It’s going to take time. Yes, it’s reasonable and appropriate to expect to see signs of results right away. But commitment is going to be essential. The best such work should have a long shelf life and could generate revenue over a number of years. In many news organizations, measures of success are almost instant. This work is going to require new measurements. It’s not a one-shot effort.

Fourth, even if the organization wants to build its Web site as the destination for its content, in the case of multimedia the issue isn’t whether people watch or use it on a company’s site, the challenge is to try to expand distribution opportunities so people can experience it wherever works best for them. That’s how organizations will be able to build larger or more valuable audiences. What once might have just been a newspaper or magazine story - even a special one - can now be distributed on television, the Web and mobile devices. In addition, there’s the possibility of DVD sales, educational software, etc. Find ways to expand the reach of content. And to make money from doing so.

Fifth, don’t lower standards. Raise them. Of course there’s a place for “one-man band” journalism and quick news clips. And user contributed video could play a huge role in interesting new approaches to multimedia storytelling. But multimedia takes more work and it’s vying for attention in a very competitive space, a global space. To build long-term value and a long lifespan for work, make sure to focus on quality projects that will stand out. If a company is going to spread its content across many platforms, the work has to be deserving of the effort.

Sixth, don’t think this work can be done by asking individual journalists to do more or to become experts in every multimedia skill. Yes, everyone working in a multimedia operation should have an understanding of the contribution of each member of the team. But it’s critical to have a focus and set priorities. Otherwise the danger is that content producers will burn out and that multimedia will just mean quick hit digital stories. It’s much more than that - or should be.

Seventh, organizations should think of themselves as curators of content as much as they think of themselves as creators of content. Typically, there are many creative people in any area. Involve them. Leverage what they’re already doing. They could be establishing a base of work that news organizations can evaluate and then extend. Look for good work. Ask whether with a little more effort it could be produced for distribution on multiple platforms.

Eighth, involve the public. Make it possible for everyone to participate. This applies especially to geographically based content companies. Look for ways to partner with other news organizations, not just regionally or nationally, but also around the world. Any news organization now can have a global audience, if it produces the right kind of work. How about producing work that would be of interest to people around the world? Everything from doing a shared project on how people worship to a project on what people eat to start the day. Multimedia can make people's world seem bigger and smaller at the same time. Ask which local stories might resonate with others because they tap into universal themes or issues. Why couldn’t people contribute video, audio or still images that together tell a larger story? News organizations could put out requests for content and guidelines for how to submit it.

Ninth, remember the importance of play. Create excitement by staging events where the public can participate and even produce work that will be tapped to chronicle the event. This might be seen as gimmicky, but don’t think of that as all bad. If an event is “real,” if it generates passionate commitment, then it transcends any such concern. This is a way to help get people to think of traditional brands in a more expansive way and to build excitement around them. Here are a few examples of the personality and attitude that I think news organizations need to unleash if they want to play in this arena.

Stand By Me

Free Hugs

Where the hell is Matt

Noah a picture everyday

One Year in 40 seconds

I think all of these are suggestive of things news organizations could do.

Tenth, use multimedia as a way to reposition a news organization's brand. Today, the business side is seen by many as serving only the goal of profit. Relentless cost cutting sends a troubling message - to staff and communities. Multimedia could help a company reestablish its commitment to a purpose - to inform, inspire and entertain. Why? Because if a company pursued this path successfully, it would expand its reach and grow the types of work it does. It would be a visible manifestation of its commitment to being a “content” company rather than a generator of cash.

In the end, why bother doing any or all of this? Because technology has opened exciting new opportunities for content companies. If they don’t seize them, somebody else will. The digital world has opened a space they can enter to connect in an even deeper way with their community and the world, give their journalists even more satisfying jobs and strengthen their financial health.


  1. Hi guy's,
    Thanks for Sharing information about Ten steps news organizations should take to embrace a multimedia future .I like this Article because it is very useful to us....

    comprar r4 nintendo ds

  2. I agree with one of the stand that the digital world has opened a space they can enter to connect in an even deeper way with their community and the world, give their journalists even more satisfying jobs and strengthen their financial health.Well the world has completely changed since then. Now you have practically ubiquitous broadband usage, with maybe 20% of the country not covered. The media available to people has way outpaced the ability and willingness of publishing to keep up. The possibility of audio and video and motion graphics and Flash design have bypassed or been ignored by most publishing companies. Not that there aren't elements of those on some print publishers' websites, but the art and craft of storytelling hasn't been reinvented to incorporate those media.

    natural cholesterol remedies

  3. The future will come, but the mistakes from the past should not be repeated. More Information.

  4. Welcomes to google terminal from Austin Texas! google snake
    Amazing insight you have on this, Happy wheels it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists... Age of war 2 This article always blew me... Earn to die For how many times I have read this.
    slither io Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while slitherio it's nice to find a website that details so much big farm

  5. Auto purchasers know the advantage of a credit. An advance can help you get a vehicle you need at a regularly scheduled installment that fits their financial plan. What you may not know is that on account of a car advance, you can keep away from travel and apply for the auto advance from your PC! The accessibility of online vehicle advances originates from the development of online money related foundations. cash advance

  6. Super website with a great sharing and amazing stories is ur web.. please keep doing what u do now.. thanks to you.
    Agen Bola Resmi
    Bandar bola
    Agen Bola Terpercaya
    Agen Bola Terbesar
    Agen Bola online
    Judi bola
    Berita Bola
    Agen Sbobet
    Agen Ibcbet

  7. Bonus FreeBet
    Bagi-bagi Freebet setiap harinya, syaratnya sangatlah mudah :
    - Member harus deposit minimal Rp 20.000 dan bermain minimal Rp 10.000 dipasaran

    Hadiah : Bagi member yang beruntung mendapatkan 5rb (freebet) pada setiap harinya ( akan diundi hanya 10 member saja )
    - Hitungan bonus Freebet diberikan pada jam 12:00
    - Harus melakukan klaim bonus kepada CS kami
    - Promo berakhir pada tanggal 31 Desember 2016
    - Contoh pembagian Bonus, Jika hari ini anda sudah melakukan bettingan maka besok pada jam 12:00 anda lakukan pengklaiman bonus kepada pihak CS kami.

    Bonus Loyalitas (permanen)
    - Bagi member kami yang sudah mendaftar ataupun belum harap untuk chat CS kami dan meminta Kode unik kepada CS kami
    - Member harus Deposit setiap harinya minimal 20rb dan Bermain minimal 10rb di pasaran
    - Member yang setiap harinya Deposit akan mendapatkan Poin Loyal dan proses Claim Poin harus berturut-turut deposit dan apabila terjadi miss deposit maka akan di reset dari awal kembali
    - Claim bisa di lakukan berdasarkan Level pada tabel yang tertera
    - Member yang sudah Menerima Hadiah akan di reset kembali.
    - Klaim harus menyertakan KODE UNIK yang di berikan CS.

    Hadiah : Deposit 10 Hari Berturut-turut - 5 RB
    Hadiah : Deposit 20 Hari Berturut-turut - 20 RB
    Hadiah : Deposit 30 Hari Berturut-turut - 50 RB
    Hadiah : Deposit 200 Hari Berturut-turut - 500 RB
    togel online

  8. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.
    hotmail login | red ball

  9. شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

  10. Thanks for all your information, Website is very nice and informative content.
    Agen Bola Terpercaya

  11. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information like this one. Anyone who really wants to read an article with full of information. Now click here payday loans spring-valley Thanks for good post.

  12. Nice post i like it so much.I am very pleased to see your website which have rich information.
    Judi poker
    Bandar togel
    Taruhan bola

  13. Concerning virtually no thoughts to comprehend the following posting. I'm just seriously happy because of this posting the one who built the following posting appeared to be an important thanks a ton dude. At this moment please click here Cash Advance With thanks to get awesome posting.

  14. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by
    him as e-slovensko no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You’re wonderful! Thanks!


    * BONUS TURN OVER 0.5%
    * BONUS REFERRAL 10 - 15 %


  16. interesting articles and this is my first first reading a very interesting article thanks for this article that fits with the theme news.

  17. It is a nice reminder that we do it because we love it. Those nice reviews make it all worth it.
    Thank you for judi poker helping me make my dream come
    true bythis awesome articles for me and for
    writing books I enjoy reading.


  18. Success is not measured by wealth, success is an achievement that we want Bandar Togel Online Terpercaya