A panel discussion at the 84th INMA World Congress focused on enhancing the value of the news brand. The members of this panel were Tony Danker of Guardian News & Media, Shrijeet Mishra of The Times of India, and Raju Narisetti of News Corp.

Danker, director of international and partnerships at Guardian News & Media, presented a model of how news used to be viewed as a whole.

“In the beginning, there was one truth and many listeners,” he said. Now it has transitioned to “many voices and a better truth.”

Different from how publications have been viewed in the past, news stories have transitioned into a model where publication is the point at which the conversation starts, and people continue to spread the story from what they read about it.

“In the old days, the end of the publication process was the end of the story,” Danker said. In today’s digital age, the story is now “perpetual.”

Danker discussed the digitalisation of media and the role digitisation plays in how the story is viewed, processed, and pushed forward.

Danker quoted his editor: “Most people see this as the biggest threat. We see it as the biggest opportunity.”

Danker talked about the way stories are started outside the newsroom by mentioning how the Guardian was able to tell the story of the 2011 London riots. The news organisation was told the story through the citizens who were experiencing the events and got involved with the story: “They want to take action.”

There are two important points that should be kept in mind when putting stories out to the public, Danker said: “The first imperative is to be of the Web, not on the Web,” he said. This fuels the desire of the public to link to stories, respond, comment, tell you when you are wrong, share the stories and ultimately participate. “The second imperative is to be courageous and to rise above the noise.” 

This leads into having the news media as a brand, along with a brand promise of openness along with courage equals trust, Danker said. This proves to be an important part of the brand as a whole. 

“Without trust, you don’t have readers and you don’t have advertisers,” Danker said.

Moving from the original thought of one truth and many listeners, there is now a new thought of many voices and a better truth. Danker believes this relationship between users and journalists is desirable by the advertisers.

“This is the conversation that brands want to be a part of,” Danker said. 

Shrijeet Mishra, chief operating officer for The Times of India, discussed the status of print news in India. 

“Print in India is alive and kicking,” he said. 

In talking about enhancing the value of a new brand, Mishra showed a series of videos that help exemplify the power of print media, and in turn helps set the social agenda. With the social agenda being the first part of the focus, the second part follows suit. 

“We are driven by innovation,” Mishra said. “It has been part of our DNA.” 

With this driving force, the marketing of TV, the Internet and the mobile platform has actually helped to expand the life of print: “It presented print to first time advertisers. To people that don’t believe in print.”

In regards to ideas, trends, and insights into a growing and changing media world, Mishra feels that his media group is a part of that: “Times of India is an access and a gateway brand.”

Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy at News Corp., posed a thought about trying to decide what exactly the news brand is.   

With newsrooms usually claiming ownership of the newsbrand, the ability to veto the expansion of that brand in new directions is held by the newsrooms, Narisetti said: “That’s the power we’ve given our newsrooms.” 

We start to see large organisations begin to think about what they can do with their brand, and that thinking can lead to putting their brand in a membership model,  he said: “You see big brands creating sub-brands.”

This leads to how brands can be used to help further the content.

“Can we take our brands and can we help our advertisers get into storytelling?” he asked.

With this drive to have storytelling being approached at different angles, the view on content is also changing. With brands moving from marketers to publishers, content has become a necessity instead of just an option.

“To make stories worth sharing, brands have to know how to tell them,” Narisetti said.

After the speeches, the floor was opened up to the audience in order for a question and answer session involving all three of the speakers.

One question was about the move forward into paying for material coming from these news organisations, especially with the concept of a paywall. 

“We don’t have plans to charge for content,” Danker said. 

Narisetti also weighed in on his views of monetizing the news.

“My personal view is that paywalls are here to stay, but they are here to struggle,” Narisetti said.

Another question involved how the relationship has changed between marketing and editorial content.

“Brands and editorials need to work together,” Mishra said.