Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Newspaper of the Future: 9 things that will change and 1 that won't

What will the newspaper of the future be like? Here are nine things that will change – and one that won't.

1)It will be online
The costs of a traditional newspaper are just too high. If you want something to curl up with, you can always print out stories.
2)It will break the locality based model
Today geographical location is the key differentiator. Every city has “its” newspaper. The news sites will operate in a manner more akin to syndication or the Associated Press today.
3)The space cadets will be on board
The advertising departments will sell online ads with the same enthusiasm and skill that they sell print ads today. One of the major problems with online news now is the general news sites don't have effective sales forces. This hurts revenue.
4)It will have a smaller, but more effective, staff
Rather than trying to have a reporter to cover everything, the reporters will be concentrated in the areas that are important to that news site, including strictly local news. The rest will be covered by stringers and agreements with other news sites.
5)A journalist is as a journalist does
“Journalist” will be defined by the kind and quality of output, not by a degree or the organization they work for. High quality, well-written results will tend to get you hired on to a news site.
6)As always, editors will be key
There is no substitute for good editors.
7)Quality of writing will be a key differentiator
News sites will live or die by the quality of their output. The writing will have to be of uniformly high quality to win and keep readers.
8)Insight will be another key differentiator
Reporters and editors will have to understand what they're writing about at a fairly profound level.
9)It will use all the available web tools
That includes things like Google Maps, tweets, graphics, podcasts and video clips. Web 2.0 and beyond.
10)The pay will be lousy
Some things won't change.