Mediamorphosis: Success Across All Platforms

“Good journalism is good business” was the slogan for INK+BEYOND 2013 opening speaker Juan Señor, partner at Innovation Media Consulting Group in London, England and a contributing author to the Innovations in Newspapers 2012 World Report.

Señor spoke to conference delegates about newspaper transformation in a digital age during his keynote address on Thursday, May 2. He stressed the need to dismantle the current American newspaper editorial model, trading in commodity and abundant journalism for “scarce” quality journalism.

According to Señor, there is no revenue in abundant content and the future success for any news outlet relies on the practice of being digital first, but not digital only.

“We’re trying to engage people who have Facebook friends and not face-to-face friends,” explained Señor. “It’s an entire digital generation that is very, very lonely. These are humans that can no longer ingest, let alone digest, any more data per day. We’re data rich but information poor.”

The notion that online is taking over is no longer today’s reality. Señor asserted that print is “alive and well” and that print circulation is stable, even growing in certain regions. “It will remain a profitable option for decades,” he said. “Print is eternal. No medium has ever replaced another medium.”

While the printed paper will never become obsolete, Señor was adamant that newspapers must evolve their editorial model as well as their business model in order to flourish in this changing media landscape. The media innovation expert encouraged delegates to purse new forms of in-depth and meaningful journalism. Newspapers must shift their focus from volume to value; move away from reporting on the Who, What, When and Where and start covering the How, Why and What’s Next. Campaign journalism, Señor said, is where the newspaper can become a point of connection for the community and tackle specific issues of relevance to their readers

Furthermore, 21st century readers want more visuals to accompany the written content. Incorporating beautiful and well-executed design elements — such as typography, photography, illustrations and infographics — enhances the editorial content and entices readers to spend more time on pages. Señor championed the physicality of the paper product and encouraged newspaper delegates to get creative in their design. Newspapers must be bold and experimental, look to magazines for inspiration and surprise readers by packaging news content in exciting and unexpected new ways. “When it comes to design, the best rule is no rules,” said Señor.

The current newsroom management model is not working for Señor; he wants to see more developers work along side journalists. Ideally, he would like to see one developer for every five journalists; a ratio that would support and encourage the idea of making design part of the content.

“What really matters is good journalism, wild ideas and crazy people,” said Señor. “We need leadership and we need innovators. We must have these guys in your newsrooms.” Journalism is the focus of great writing and campaign journalism that is driven by commitment, excitement and engagement with your community will help newspapers flourish in print and online.