Break’s over

If you are an executive at a newspaper or media company I hope this scared the bejesus out of you, and you woke up this morning profoundly thinking about what’s next.

If you missed the post – A call for leadership: Newspaper execs deserve the blame for not changing the culture – by Jonathan Groves and Carrie Brown-Smith go read it.

I’m not interested in blame or arguing over this or that from the past. I don’t think the authors are either. More than anything, can we agree that these two paragraphs are reality?

“In our research of news organizations, in study after study, we have repeatedly found this to be the case. One daily newspaper of less than 50,000 circulation we studied struggled with the change to a web-first organization because, though its leaders acknowledged the importance of the new medium, they did not reinforce that desire through their reward and accountability systems. Print revenue and circulation remained the benchmarks of success, not digital revenue or pageviews. As a result, newsroom staffers struggled to develop the kind of online content needed to expand the web audience.

“Another paper we studied, a metropolitan daily with a circulation of over 100,000, faced similar challenges, as staffers still celebrated getting on 1A and daily rituals like news meetings continued to be print-focused — despite lots of talk about ‘digital first.’” – Groves and Brown-Smith

If that is the reality, and I know in general it is, how do we change it? What actions do we take today. I believe changing actions and routines will change mindsets.

The authors offer these steps:

– Find the change agents with the relationship-building skills to push others to develop new routines
– Put the structure in place to allow employees to experiment and fail in the digital ecosystem
– Give specific information on prioritizing workloads around digital efforts
– Develop concrete reward systems

Here are a few of my own:

– Base every decision on operating a digital media businesses first
– Define your digital workflow and then organize your staff to meet its objectives
– Measure and listen to everything so you can rapidly adapt to changes in the media market and audience consumption
– Engage with everyone willing to talk or already talking about your product and/or service

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