21 January 2013 · By Kylie Davis
New media channels play a bigger role than simply promoting and distributing the content we create. The sooner newspapers recognise the true value of innovative start-ups such as BuzzFeed and Yelp, the sooner we can harness the tools these new potential partners have to offer.
“Why didn’t newspapers invent Facebook?” was a question that sparked widespread debate, both in the real world and on social media, at the 2011 INMA World Congress in New York.
Responses included that newspaper thinking was too slow, not innovative and entrepreneurial enough. That we weren’t prepared to try and fail. That senior management didn’t “get” it.
Our criteria for success was too rigid and out of date. And, alternatively, that there was “too much” innovation out there that was bamboozling and no proven way to know where to place your bets.
We are continuing to labour under the belief that writing, producing, and curating beautiful and compelling content is fundamentally enough, and the new media options just provide us with more ways to promote, distribute, and create it more efficiently — and occasionally reply or chat to readers. And advertisers should stick with us while we do that.
The urgency is now upon us to recognise there is a whole new world of publishing out there in the form of innovative start-ups. And they’re inventing apps and technologies that fulfill the old newspaper criteria of connecting audiences, proclaiming and advocating on behalf of issues, and creating new efficiencies and services for readers and businesses.
As they do this, some of them even create content. Alert! Alert!!
Instead, we should be asking which ones fulfill the other essential role of publishers that we once owned exclusively, through audience connection, advocacy, and efficiency.
When it takes off, Ban.jo will challenge news organisations’ claims that they have the most reporters on the ground.
Users can browse by category, designer, or inspiration requirement and see tens of thousands of images. It lets you compare designers or builders to each other, identifies products, and connects you to tradespeople.
And once you’ve done the job and love it, you can upload the images and embrace the bragging rights.
The technology detects what is trending on the Web, and encourages contribution and ranking by readers. And it is bright and super buzzy and fun to read.
Effectively, it’s a new world news site for under 25-somethings. The site reaches more than 25 million monthly unique visitors and was founded by Jonah Peretti, who previously co-founded The Huffington Post.
The app logs the issue with participating councils and follows its progress through to repair; councils also promote their actions.
Yelp provides key contact information for retailers, restaurants, and service businesses. It is tied to mapping, making it easy to find suitable businesses by location, or search by name, and is a contender that could challenge local newspapers for advertising and metros for their dominance of review content.
Nextdoor.com is a social media app for local communities. You can only join the network if you have a physical address in the neighbourhood, and it is being adopted in the United States by county councils wanting to disseminate local information as an alternative to newspaper notices and advertising.
Participants can communicate and be friendly with neighbours in a virtual environment without the need to be besties and know all about their private lives. As a tool to help find lost dogs, share information about crime, schools, promote local school fairs, and review local services, it’s proving a winner.
Participants can pin anything — personal memories, photos, or reviews, etc., to Findery to help others learn about the local area. So newspapers could pin links to stories on their locations in Findery, too, if we got closer.
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About this blog
My name is Kylie Davis, and I'm national real estate editor for News Ltd. in Sydney, Australia, as well as an undergraduate at the AGSM MBA program at the University of New South Wales. I'm passionate about vibrant, creative and entrepreneurial newspapers; about giving oxygen to great journalism; creating connected and engaged communities of readers and advertisers; and smashing down any barriers or closed mindedness that prevents the above.
May 2013 ( 1 )