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Digital Leads: 10 keys to newsroom transformation

by: Michele McLellan |



           Executive Summary
           1. Strategy
           2. Research
           3. Staff ownership
           4. Process and planning
           5. Leadership and culture
           6. Organization-wide buy-in
           7. Training and tools
           8. Organizational change
           9. Priorities
           10. Feedback loops


<<Previous: 1. Strategy

2. Research: Creating a consumer connection

Summary: The company provided local consumer research to help newsrooms identify potential topics of high interest to target audience groups, generally younger than 55, who wanted their news and information on digital platforms.

In each newsroom, the process began with local consumer research.

The newsrooms had deep knowledge of their local communities. But with their intense newspaper focus, they had not developed strong awareness of digital news consumption.

Creating a consumer-focused culture was critical if the initiative was going to take hold and prepare newsrooms to adapt to future changes in digital technology and usage.

The company commissioned Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. to conduct surveys in its seven larger markets in 2012-13 to capture topics of interest and news consumption habits. Research Director Daniel Hoag provided further analysis for those markets.

In its six smaller markets, where the company did not commission original research, Hoag used the Magid data from larger markets to identify trends that likely were present in smaller markets with similar demographics.

The research illuminated how different demographic groups – primarily defined by age, gender, income, family status and education – used different platforms to find their news.

It underscored for the print-focused journalists that many potential readers under 55 were highly unlikely to seek news in print but were eager to find news about certain local topics on digital platforms. The research also confirmed that more and more people were accessing news on smart phones and tablets.

Hoag’s analysis also highlighted two key questions about topics: What topics were most people in specific demographic groups highly interested in? What was their satisfaction level with the information currently available?

The answers enabled newsrooms to identify local news topics that fell in the sweet spot: High interest and low satisfaction.

Continue: 3. Staff ownership>>

Michele McLellan

Michele McLellan is a writer, editor and consultant who works on projects that help strengthen the emerging local news ecosystem,
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