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20 Shocking Secrets About the News Business (Hint: It's All About Innovation)

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Deck from "Innovating Locally," the presentation I gave at the 2014 annual convention for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. This deck, which draws on research during my year as a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, offers an analysis of the local news media and some tools for instilling a culture of continuous innovation.

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20 Shocking Secrets About the News Business (Hint: It's All About Innovation)

  1. 1. 20 Shocking Secrets About the News Business alexa schirtzinger | july 2014 (apologies to Upworthy)
  2. 2. What’s coming: ● Theory ● Data ● Secrets!
  3. 3. First, a quick intro.
  4. 4. Stanford!
  5. 5. startup: “a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty” Eric Ries
  6. 6. The internet’s “democratizing” effect ● access to information ● communication ● content creation
  7. 7. (here comes the theory)
  8. 8. What is “content”?
  9. 9. If the supposedly self-involved members of the creative class can organize to assert some control over what they make — the magical stuff now routinely referred to as “content” — then maybe other residents of the beleaguered middle might be inspired by their examples. A.O. Scott
  10. 10. “Ads are just as much content as anything else.” Dylan Smith, LION
  11. 11. the pipe
  12. 12. (now for some data)
  13. 13. Based on my survey of approximately 40 alt-weekly stakeholders.
  14. 14. Based on my survey of approximately 40 alt-weekly stakeholders.
  15. 15. [T]he trends are clear: people, especially the young, are turning to the Internet for more and more of their news and developing an effective digital strategy is essential for long-term survival. Paul Grabowicz, UC Berkeley
  16. 16. Independent Media Network ● “We are a social enterprise” ● operations: o tech support/training o national/regional sales o eventually, local sales ● revenue from national, regional, local sales
  17. 17. Texas Tribune ● “Relentlessly entrepreneurial” ● Texas-based, politically involved audience
  18. 18. credit: Jake Batsell
  19. 19. credit: Jake Batsell
  20. 20. Berkeleyside ● Small and lean (3 people) ● operations: o daily neighborhood reporting o memberships o one big event: Uncharted: Festival of Ideas ● Revenue from local ad sales, events, memberships
  21. 21. Why should we care?
  22. 22. “In the past decade, what [we] do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day…
  23. 23. “…yet in most companies, the organizational structure…hasn’t changed [in 40 years].” Harvard Business Review
  24. 24. Secrets!
  25. 25. 1. Know your audience
  26. 26. 2. Know thyself
  27. 27. 3. Know your purpose credit: Disney
  28. 28. 4. Listen
  29. 29. 5. Get personal
  30. 30. 6. Engage
  31. 31. 7. Enlist allies
  32. 32. 8. ...and put them to work!
  33. 33. 9. Consider your user...
  34. 34. 10. ...the use case...
  35. 35. 11. ...and the whole journey.
  36. 36. 12. Just do it.
  37. 37. 13. Rough beats ready >
  38. 38. 14. Take time to reflect
  39. 39. 15. Be transparent
  40. 40. 16. Innovate continuously
  41. 41. 17. Get the data
  42. 42. 18. Challenge ALL of your assumptions—even the ones you know to be true
  43. 43. 19. Tear down your firewall credit: npr.org
  44. 44. 20. Have fun.

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