The Future of Newspapers

If you wanted me to give you a one word summary of newspapers in the future I would say: dead.  That’s not really the truth though and it’s not an accurate global picture. The reality is that these companies, while slow to adopt new technologies for the most part are catching on and with cash in hand they are going to start snapping up those companies that understand new media most. So what is the consistency of an ex-newspaper company, future “new media” company?

  • Researchers – Researchers may be one of the most important members of the new media company. These are the people that are constantly sifting through information and determining which articles to write about. They also don’t just find information through their filtering system but they also inquire to individuals to get commentary on issues in addition to getting more information about stories. Frequently the line between researchers and writers can be blurred.
  • Producers – The producers are creating content that will be displayed and promoted. They are the writers, podcasters and video production teams. The average visitor comes to the new media company’s site to consume the content created by the producers. While the producers are frequently looking for content, just as the researchers do, these individuals’ specialty is in the art of creating unique and intriguing content.
  • Editors – The editors are simply experienced producers. They have learned the lessons that new media has to offer and now they are teaching this to others. The editor also produces content on occasion but their job is more about teaching rather than doing.
  • Designers – If you are building a new media company from the ground up, it better look good. You could argue about this until the cows come home. To the naysayers, I know that the Drudge Report doesn’t look great but then again they have a proven track record of breaking news stories time and time again. All I will say is that it is much easier to sell something when it looks good. In addition to designing your own site they will be providing design services to all your advertisers. Remember those people? Yeah, they are the ones that help keep you in business. If you make them look good, they will reward you generously.
  • Developers – The developers make everything happen. You need to have developers to help you say on the leading edge of new media. This requires constant innovation and keeping a pulse on emerging technologies. In turn, you can provide your advertisers with more unique advertising solutions.
  • Community Managers – The community managers loves your community. Every new participant in the community needs to be welcomed and supported. Without these guys your company is going to lack product evangelists and it will also lack transparency. You want anybody to be able to contact you and you want to respond to most inquiries. Each organization has a different ratio for number of active members to each individual community member. If you need to start calculating this, you are headed in the right direction.
  • Events Coordinators – New media companies are master connectors. They help connect the community. While the connecting is done by the executives, the event coordinators help to organize “real world” events which enables people to connect on a personal level. If your company is the center of connecting people, you are going to be insanely valuable.
  • Business Developers – This is straightforward and it’s the same way it has always been. You need a business development team to make money! This team helps you generate revenue and revenue is always a good thing. Hire people that have built a solid network with big advertisers and you are destined for success.
  • Executives – Executives are the super-connectors and managers. While the management is more important, being able to connect people to generate partnerships is critical. The executives also set the vision for the organization so they better know what’s going on.

The new media company doesn’t simply write about the community, they are now forced to connect with the community. While there are more roles that could be added to this theoretical organization that I’ve written about, the main point is that while there are still similar roles and tiles, the roles have changed and the system has been transformed. While not the majority, a large percentage of content consumers also want to be engaged with the organization that is providing them with information.

Is there anything that I’m missing from this?