Integration and inspiration round out DMA16

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After yesterday's Deseret Digital Media case for separating print and digital businesses, today's Digital Media Asia newsroom focus was on integration.

Over a CCI breakfast Michael Beach updated on the story of Seven West Media's integration of its West Australian TV news, digital and print newsrooms.

It's a task which has suddenly become more complicated, with the acquisition of the Sunday Times and its perthnow website from News Corp.

Beach was coopted at short notice to investigate European sites as part of plans to update its CCI editorial system when a colleague was unable to travel and - after visiting Axel Springer in Berlin and Adresseavisen in Trondheim - found himself in charge of the project.

One outcome of viewing the network of user sites was a decision to merge the TV and newspaper newsrooms and the "leap of faith" to develop an open system where all users have access to all content. The two had been "quite competitive," Beach says, but bringing the two together brought the opportunity to exploit competitive advantage in areas such as video.

The new arrangement has made it "quite easy" to add newspapers and websites, and the group's 23 regional newspapers were soon included in a workload based around the flagship daily West Australian.

In the coming week, the Sunday Times is being added - bringing user numbers to 200 from about 180 previously - with and its website to follow, and the Yahoo-based thewest site with its one-way integration, is also being relaunched.

Beach says one of the benefits of the Newsgate upgrade has been access to a network of "very smart people" who use the system: "We learn from each other, making rapid development easier," he says... and Perth a little less isolated, it seems.

Decisions whether a story should appear in print or online first are based on "news instinct" although the system allows former competitors on the Saturday and Sunday papers have got coming through.

Also on the agenda was Andy Budiman, who has jumped from print - he's chairman of the ASEAN Newspaper Printers industry group - to "the dark side" of digital to be Kompas' TV group executive vice director. A first project has been to bring three Indonesian publishers together in their own programmatic sales operation, with more expected to join the joint venture, which sees Google and Facebook excluded from their premium sites. Already there's a fivefold improvement in programmatic eCPM, though there's ground to be made up on volume.

More Asian wisdom came in the VR experiences of Hyo Seop Shin at Korea's Chosun, and Tan Lee Chin of Sin Chew's MCIL Multimedia operation in Malaysia. Its PocketTimes video channel, launched in 2014, had delivered learning on social media interaction, native advertising - with a public health show - and events.

Singapore Press Club trainer Joon-Nie Lau hosted a panel discussion on newsroom integration, empowerment and creativity, with Beach joining Christina Lo of video start-up Stakk Factory, Straits Times editor-in-chief Warren Fernandez, and Nick Petrie - who spoke yesterday about The Times and the Sunday Times - for a discussion which contrasted attitudes and experience.

Insights into a changing future came from Inaraneel Ganguli - who is global brand and field head of Indian IT giant Tech Mahindra - and author and "growth consultant" Scott Anthony, who contrasted the 2007 prospects of RIM and Nokia- "a billion customers - can anyone catch them up," Forbes had asked - with Google's handset alliance and Apple new iPhone.

What smacked of a grand observation of history also included Anthony's "dual transformation" concept, with its repositioning of today and creation of tomorrow. On leadership, he advocated "the courage to choose" - jumping off the burning platform before it's on fire - "the clarity to focus", "the curiosity to explore" and "the conviction to persevere".

Ganguli talked of a different kind of disruption, in areas such as healthcare, autonomous driving, and the 3D printing of an edible breakfast: "Soon it'll be $5 and five minutes and you'll be able to print Nigella Lawson and Curtis Stone specialities in the process.

"This kind of disruption takes an entire industry out," he says.

And a reminder of the need to keep up came from the fast-talking, Nicole Wilke, who worked as product head for what I'd call the NYT of tech sites, Wired, and its TechCrunch stablemate, launched in 2005 as a blog by California-based Michael Arrington.

She urged analyzing current positions (and weaknesses), what's happening in your industry, and your future goals. A commitment to "executing brilliantly" had brought Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as guest editors and an Apple Watch exclusive, and led to two Webby awards and a 71 per cent rise in traffic.

Seventeen different verticals and "a firehose of news and scoops", elegantly executed on Wordpress, were somehow created with only two developers.

"Effectiveness is doing the right thing; efficiency is doing things right," she quoted.

-Peter Coleman

Pictured: 'Execute brilliantly,' was Nicole Wilke's message

On our homepage: Indraneel Ganguli helped shape the future

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