News Leadership 3.0

November 13, 2008

Six competencies of news organizations

Media Management Center presentation outlines jobs for news providers of the next generation of news (which is here now)

I sat in on a Webinar by the Media Management Center at Northwestern University this week. Annette Moser-Wellman presented in information-rich outline of “Six Competencies of the Next Generation News Organization.”

Moser-Wellman’s list provides a great blueprint for organizations that are looking beyond the next round of cutbacks to becoming an organization that can thrive five years from now. To set the stage, Moser-Wellman gave an overview of just-around-the-corner technologies. She gave particular emphasis on the growing role of mobile in virtually everything we do, including the way we consume media and the way advertising finds us.

Here’s my shorthand version of her list of roles for the next-gen news organization:

1. Platform strategist. Know the platforms, know the players, know how users consume information and what content works best where. Start by looking at what people need and develop strategies to meet those needs.
2. Marketer. It’s all about establishing your brand by showing how your content is different and targeting information to specific groups.
3. Community builder. The traditional role of the news organization in a community is changing online. It requires the ability to connect people with like interests and to engage them in news gathering.
4. Data miner. Organizations must build capacity to store, access and retrieve information through meta data such as tagging. Organizations can develop new revenue streams by repackaging information in different ways. Semantic technology on the horizon will increase the potential for properly tagged content to find interested users.
5. Complete storyteller. Communication is becoming more visual, as evidenced by maps and timelines and interactives that report news and put it in context.
6. Entrepreneur. News organizations must operate in a selling environment. “News organizations will need to figure out what the end consumer is going to want and what they are willing to pay for.”

Which ability is most likely to separate successful news organizations from an unsuccessful one?
“My personal penchant would be this ability to be an entrepreneur and think like an entrepreneur,” Moser-Williams said. “What that means it the culture has to have a certain tolerance for risk,” to take on innovative projects and “throw a little bit of money at something that might not pan out.” Organizations “that focus best on the entrepreneurship will be the winners.”

This list seems like a great starting point for a discussion of emerging roles of news organizations. What do you think? Are these or other roles important in your organization’s future? What roles will you emphasize? How will you help your organization take them on?

Moser-Wellman has put together an indepth report on the “Six Competencies.” She blogs about emerging technology and media practice at Media Management’s Media Info Center. Vivian Vahlberg, managing director of Media Management Center, said Moser-Wellman will do additional Webinars for interested companies or associations. Contact Vahlberg at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 847-467-1790 for more info.

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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