Business Models, Strategies, Issues and Trends
12 Building the news business through innovation
Summary Innovation drives modern economies. But before innovation can happen in the news media, editorial managers need to foster environments that welcome it. Media companies are some of the least innovative organizations in the world because they have often been unwilling to risk failure, a precursor to innovation. This chapter will look initially at the role of innovation in improving the business models at news organizations, and how they can inculcate innovation and crea- tivity. It will then provide examples of innovative practices in media companies around the world. Juan Senor, a director of the Innovation International media consulting company, offers one primary piece of advice to media houses: “Innovate or die.” Senor said the essentials of journalism had not changed, but the business model had. Jim Brady, former executive editor of WashingtonPost.com, believes that insufficient risk-taking occurred at newspapers. “We’ve done things a certain way for so long that change comes at too slow a pace,” he said in a Q&A on the Poynter web site in 2009, arguing that the speed of experimentation needed to increase. “Launching blogs in 2009 isn’t innovative anymore.” All web newsrooms needed to devote resources to forward-looking experimentation. “If all your resources are focused on putting out today’s site, tomorrow is going to sneak up quickly on you.” Meanwhile in Washington, National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller, in a keynote address at a conference about the future of news in March 2009, admitted the news industry was being tested. “Will we cower...
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