WAN-Ifra’s annual global Newsroom Summit last week examined major trends facing editors-in-chief today (writes Larry Kilman).
From using Twitter to gather information and report it, to raising funds from foundations for serious reporting projects, to hiring researchers and academics to analyse big data, to engaging audiences through social media, to re-organising and integrating newsrooms, all the trends were there.
"Never before have we had access to so much information and never before have the possibilities been so limitless for doing journalism,” said Paul Lewis, Special Projects Editor for the Guardian, one of the speakers at the World Editors Forum’s Newsroom Summit, which drew editors from around the globe to Hamburg, Germany, last week.
If one theme emerged from the presentations and discussions, it was that new practices and innovation are emerging from an environment of constant change.
“I think the next two to three years will be even more revolutionary for news organisations than the last few,” said Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Editor-in-chief of Germany’s newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
Tomas Brunegard, CEO of the Stampen Group in Sweden, said the rapid pace of technological change, particular the “tornado” of mobile growth, was a positive development for news media today.
“We are in the right spot and the right time with the right tools, and it is up to use not to screw it up,” he said. “We were taken by surprise by the internet. We were not taken by surprise this time.”
The 11th summit offered a variety of presentations on all issues of concern for editorial operations of news media companies.
Quotes from the conference:
“Getting the story right, and ethically right, is more important than getting a short-term scoop. We suffer from a lack of trust, and this as implications for the entire industry.”
Erik Bjerager, President, World Editors Forum
"I'm interested in long-term survival – if people don't pay, we don't get paid. Should content be paid for? We believe this in the non-digital world. Why should it be different in the digital world?"
Knut Englemann, Editor, Wall Street Journal Germany
“Paid content on digital platforms is not a fashion or fluke, it is a core strategic issue for the future.”
Dietmar Schantin, Founder, Institute for Media Strategies, Austria
“As a journalist, I want to get out there and reach as many people as I can. Why are so many people thinking that only paid-for content is valuable?"
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Editor-in-Chief, Der Spiegel, Germany
“Every new person you bring into the newsroom should be to do a job you’ve never had before.”
Anette Novak, former Editor, Norran, Sweden, Board Member World Editors Forum
“At home, our journalists were using digital media, but as soon as they came into the newsroom, they were print journalists. We had to convince them that other people were using digital media too.”
Pierre Mauchamp, Deputy Editor-in-chief, La Voix du Nord, France
“Cultural change isn’t something that happens in months, it happens in years.”
Henry Bouvier, Video Co-ordinator, Agence France-Presse, France
“In the 20th century, there were two pillars of revenues for the press – circulation and advertising. In the 21st century, a third pillar is needed – licensing the re-use of newspaper content.”
Margaret Boribon, Secretary General, Copiepresse, Belgium
"Why is it that, despite all the problems of integrating newsrooms, we are having the narrative that if you are not yet merged now, you will be?”
Wolfgang Blau, Editor, Zeit Online, Germany