RRflecting on last week's INMA World Congress, I can't help but realise that we're in an industry running on three tracks:

  • Running a newspaper: The first track involves running the day-to-day operations of a print newspaper with a small effort to extend the brand to multiple media.

  • Transforming your company for today's world: The second track involves a lot of transformational energy to catch our properties and our industry up to the digital revolution to date. This track is in overdrive at the moment because most newspapers are horribly behind the curve and realise they can cut through inertia in a recession.

  • Preparing for revolutions ahead: The third track is barely a blip on the radar: carving out the time and budget to prepare for 2011 and beyond.

The majority of our industry remains in the first track. Much of the Miami conference was about the second track, how to get there, how to marshal the transformational energy level, and how to operate in a “Google Juice” world.

Yet I walked away with a sick sense that few have given much thought to the landscape we'll play in post-recession. Presentations by author/blogger Jeff Jarvis and Greenspun Interactive president Rob Curley pushed many of us out of our comfort zone.

We can't work on what hasn't been invented. Yet it's equally clear that few newsmedia companies and certainly no industry associations or bodies are making financial space and time space for:

  • The effect of the semantic web on news and journalism which should drift into the public consciousness by 2011.

  • Information architecture as it relates to the massive rate of global information production growth.

  • The commercial value of datasets versus narrative storytelling.

  • The redefinition of credibility from objectivity to predictive accuracy.

  • The balancing of various business models and what the over-arching umbrella business model should be.

It's as if we've studied for a big test, taken the test and gotten a passing grade … only to be told the rules will soon change and we need to un-learn everything we've been taught.

For a taste of what I'm talking about, visit the INMA World Congress micro-site, The Ticker, by clicking here.