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The INNOVATION team presented a few minutes ago our last INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS Global Report at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum.
WAN’s Larry Kilmam reports
“It is time for us to listen to the wakeup call and not hit the snooze button,” said Juan Senor during his lively, packed-house presentation, in the annual WAN/IFRA Congress and Forum presentation of innovations in newspapers.
He is not necessarily worried about the newspaper of the future, but more about newspapers today and especially journalism.
“We need to go from journalist to journanalyst.
We need to create new narratives, ways to give added value to readers who already know the news.
When Michael Jackson died, all newspapers had the “King of Pop is dead” splashed across their front pages 36 hours after he died.
The Daily Dish, however, presented this the next day: “Michael Jackson died 20 years ago.” They brought depth to a story that a newspaper should be able to do, to tell a different story.”
Senor said newspaper companies today are pondering these four choices: 1) get out of the business, 2) sell or be taken over, 3) cut costs at all costs “until the cash cow bleeds to death,” or 4) reinvent the business by focusing on profitable audiences.
“We think of paper as a premium medium; online and mobile as mass mediums,”
“In time, the business is going to flip. The question is at which point will you take the cash cow and turn it into a filet mignon?
We think this will eventually happen, but at the same time you cannot abandon your main medium.”
But he kept coming back to content and storytelling, questioning every nuance of how to present news. In fact, he said newspapers should get out of the breaking news business.
“We have well paid journalists just sitting around twittering. I like social media and acknowledge its value, but how can journalist be twittering all day bringing depth to what readers really want.”
Print might not die, but he believes the multi-section American-style newspaper model should.
Go from an 80/20 (news brief to depth ratio) to a 20/80 model (briefs to more depth).
“If a reader has been in the cave, they will get the short summary, but if you know the headlines as
most of our readers do today, here is a much larger canvas with much more layers to explain why and how this news happened.”
Basically, embrace the concept of newszines: Less yesterday, more today and tomorrow.
And since INNOVATION sees the future model being built around online with texts and print being iterations of that, new narratives need to be created for this digital world.
“We need compelling new grammar, unique journalism that sells.”
Two of INNOVATION¹s recent projects include the redesign of Liberation in France and the helping on the concept of the recently launched “i” daily newspaper in Portugal.
INNOVATION in Australia who worked on the Liberation project, joined Senor on stage to lend their advice about reinventing the business.
Figueireido said for his project, there was indeed the challenge of finding the right journalists to create the types of content for this new brand.
“It’s not easy. The most important thing is the people, the journalists that we hire, what we want them to do, how we want them to write. We wanted believers in the newsroom, in our concept, to be passionate about what we were trying to do. If we felt like they were not a fit, we didn’t hire them.”
“First thing we had to do was go in as a team with respect but try to massage them about change. To move from shouting to whispering about change. We wanted rational debate. We wanted to move away from journalism that just tells problems but offers solutions to those problems. Give the readers some options.”
For a few days, the annual Innovations in Newspapers World Report with a preface of Rupert Murdoch can be purchased online for 25 Euros at http://www.innovation-mediaconsulting.com/wan-report-2009