Gregory Gittrich took control of MSNBC.com six months ago, reinventing the site into NBC.com. First on Gittrich’s agenda was making the NBC brand consistent across all platforms. He tapped into NBC’s vast news gathering resources and focused on building a proper newsroom and culture for digital news. Video is a key component in Gittrich’s plan for the site. He discussed in the largely Q&A session the idea of a “transmedia” experience, or a non-linear story that can incorporate multiple storytelling elements such as text and video. Gittrich said to never compromise the story telling or the user experience, because he said it is hard to regain the audience lost as a result of those compromises. He doesn't believe the traditional journalistic format of the inverted pyramid is right for every story. He also stressed the emphasis on bringing in a variety of skilled journalists and professionals from diverse backgrounds to create the right culture in the newsroom.
“I think the story telling, and the user experience, and the brand all have to work together,” - Gregory Gittrich
“Just hiring the right people with the right attitude and putting them in the same space is where things naturally happen — where you’re not creating or recycling past workflows, or things that work on one platform and trying to shove it on another platform, or having people consuming information the same way no matter what.” - Gregory Gittrich
“Get it out there, see what your audience does with it, measure it, and make informed decisions based on that.” - Gregory Gittrich
- It is important to keep brands consistent across all platforms.
- Traditional news formats aren’t always right for the story.
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Gregory Gittrich is the vice president for digital media and editor-in-chief of NBC Local Media's digital platforms. He's responsible for the overall product vision, content and creative, and marketing of NBC's 10 city websites (nbcnewyork.com, nbcla.com, nbcchicago.com, etc.), the company's local lifestyle franchise The Feast, and its mobile and out-of-home platforms. He reports directly to Greg Scholl, President, Local Media Platforms.
Gregory Gittrich became executive editor and vice president of NBCNews.com last October. Since then, he has learned how to take his journalism experience and adapt it to the new digital environment NBCNews.com is trying to create.
Even though the company is trying to build a brand across every platform and become more engaged with the audience, Gittrich said the company has to make it fit into the NBC News model.
“For NBC news, there’s a consistency,” Gittrich said. “It’s not identical, but it’s consistent.”
He also stressed that NBCNews.com is working to create these digital environments by tapping into traditional news gathering sources as well as putting newsrooms with the right culture in different cities.
“Just hiring the right people with the right attitude and putting them in the same space is where things naturally happen — where you’re not creating or recycling past workflows, or things that work on one platform and trying to shove it on another platform, or having people consuming information the same way no matter what,” Gittrich said.
Consumers appreciate good storytelling and companies that have what Gittrich called “the right environment.” To garner loyalty, publications and media sites have to become a part of a consumer’s daily routine.
“I think the story telling, and the user experience, and the brand all have to work together,” Gittrich said.
Gittrich also warned of the dangers of approaching video from the wrong angle when producing media content for the Web.
It is important to constantly experiment and pay attention to the ways multi-media is changing so the newsroom does not get left behind: “In a truly digital setting, you can end up somewhere completely unexpected,” he said.
Narratives should still be the focus for digital content, Gittrich said. He added that publications can build an audience by keeping the storytelling and user experience in mind when producing news for the Web.
“Get it out there,” Gittrich said. “See what your audience does with it, measure it, and make informed decisions based on that.”