Saturday, May 28, 2016

12 road maps for sustainable digital media worldwide

Renaissance maps showed monsters, hazards to avoid.
The future of journalism is increasingly digital, mobile, and in flux. It is unexplored territory. 

Like the explorers and navigators of the Renaissance, various organizations – governments, NGOs, journalism groups, and universities, among others – have been trying to map the most promising routes to sustainability in the new media ecosystem. 

It's not just about making money; it's about providing news and information crucial to a democratic society. 

Versión en español 

(At left, a map from Chet Van Duzer's book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. Click to enlarge.)

As traditional news media organizations have lost revenues, laid off employees, and reduced coverage, new digital media have emerged as important players in providing public-service journalism, especially on the local level.

Databases and promising routes

Researchers from a variety of organizations have created databases of thousands of new digital media to study best practices and find new models for sustainability. Below are the 12 studies that I have found useful, mostly taken from a paper I presented at the World Media Economics and Management Conference May 5 at Fordham University in New York City.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Univision looks beyond the U.S. to capture audience of 500 million Spanish speakers

AUSTIN, Texas -- Univision has been the most important Spanish language media company in the U.S. Now its digital news arm is taking aim at the 500 million Spanish speakers around the world. 

Borja Echevarria, its digital editor-in-chief, says his team is at the beginning of an initiative aimed at Spanish speakers in Latin America and globally. 

"Fishermen in the desert," Univision's report on a lake that dried up in Bolivia.
“We are covering topics that might occur in Bolivia but that could be related to something that occurs in Colombia or in Peru. We are not trying to attack highly local topics, at least not in this first stage. We are looking for topics of international interest.”
He made his comments to me in an interview in April on the sidelines of the International Symposium on Online Journalism.

Versión en español

An example of the kind of coverage he described was’s multimedia package on Lake Poopó, the second-largest in Bolivia, which dried up because of climate change and has left a community of fishermen high and dry. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Readers pay for digital news when you sell the value

NEW YORK -- The big mystery in the newspaper industry has been how to get digital readers to pay for a product they have been getting free for years.

Denise Warren
The industry has struggled because subscription operations were always loss leaders that didn't pay for themselves. Executives had no idea how to run a profitable subscription operation and have been learning how to do it for the first time, said Denise Warren, who played a major role in the New York Times's transition to paid digital subscriptions.

She spoke May 3 to an audience of professors and industry representatives at the World Media Economics and Management Conference held at Fordham University.

Many publishers make the mistake of marketing their digital products on the basis of price and discounts, Warren said, when they should be promoting the unique value proposition of news and information that readers cannot get anywhere else.