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New INMA report outlines COVID management opportunities for media: digital, data, culture

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


The COVID-19 crisis has provided the management opportunity of a generation to accelerate a digital- and data-led growth strategy that otherwise was mired in cultural crosswinds, according to a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA).

“News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities” is a CEO-level look at how news publishers should navigate through today’s pandemic environment:

  • Accelerating change through the chaos.
  • What areas of the company to accelerate.
  • Broader opportunities for a post-pandemic future.
  • How publishers are embracing their change opportunities. 

The report draws on the management expertise of author and consultant Lucy Küng of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, INMA CEO Earl J. Wilkinson, Boston Consulting Group’s Neal Zuckerman, futurist Ross Dawson, and the experiences of Africa Community Media, El Espectador, Infoglobo, Schibsted, South China Morning, and USA Today Network. 

Together, the report identifies the strategic opportunities for media companies during the pandemic: 

  • Accelerating transformation paths.
  • Permanently unfreezing cultures to promote speed and data-based decision-making.
  • Prioritising digital, data, and subscriptions above all else.
  • Making internal organisational changes to support the “new normal.”
  • Elevating product, data, and HR to the management table.
  • Infusing lower- and middle-level managers with leadership training. 

“News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities” is based on extensive interviews and coverage surrounding the recent INMA Virtual World Congress

The report looks at how COVID-19 has opened the door for profound change at media companies and what priority initiatives should be. Examples are monetising trust, focusing on subscriber retention, tying community outreach to business objectives, and accelerating a first-party data strategy. The report also bluntly asks what media companies will look like in their rear-view mirrors on January 1, 2021. 

Beyond media, the report examines societal trends like remote work, expanding governments, changing industry, and polarised societies. How to reinvent and fuse news brands to relevance are also covered.

“News Media’s Pandemic Leadership Opportunities” is available for free to INMA members and available to non-members for US$795, which includes one year of association membership, all strategic reports, Webinars, and access to all INMA content and peer connection tools. The report can be downloaded or purchased at

Banner image courtesy of Charles Deluvio on Unsplash.

About Dawn McMullan

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