News publishers should reinvent themselves for a post-pandemic future

By Paula Felps

INMA

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

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Editor’s note: This is a brief synopsis of content from the INMA Virtual World Congress, May 5-28. Attendees will have access to speaker presentations and robust follow-up reports.

Futurist, author, and strategy advisor Ross Dawson kicked off the first module of INMA’s Virtual World Congress on Tuesday, “Where News Media Goes Next After COVID-19,” telling attendees: “There are a number of new things that are emerging and rippling out — and in some cases even reversing — trends that we’ve seen before.”

Among the most significant changes he identified:

  • We are doing more things remotely.
  • The role of government is expanding.
  • Industries are changing entirely.
  • Society is increasingly polarised.
For news media companies to create value and extract value, they must work together, Futurist Ross Dawson told INMA Virtual World Congress attendees.
For news media companies to create value and extract value, they must work together, Futurist Ross Dawson told INMA Virtual World Congress attendees.

What this means for news media companies 

Together, all these changes signify great potential for how news companies can prosper and participate in the lives of customers.

Being able to make complex, global information relevant to a local audience will help news companies create greater value to customers. To do that, they’ll need to consider what they want to be in the future, how they want to present themselves to customers, and what they need to do to build the framework to accomplish those goals.

Rethinking revenue for the future

As news companies look at new ways to become — and remain — relevant to customers, they also will approach revenue in different ways. Dawson pointed to The Salt Lake Tribune’s move last year to a non-profit structure.

“We need to be looking at all of the other opportunities, of course, understanding government, philanthropy, Big Tech,” he said. “But fundamentally, news must have intrinsically sustainable revenues. This requires, again, this question of, how are news media companies going to create value and extract value? This will take, it must take, the collaboration of working together.”

Making such changes to prepare for a new and changing world requires decisive leadership, a willingness to collaborate, and the courage to say “yes” to chance and change.

The pandemic is and will continue making journalism more important to everyone.
The pandemic is and will continue making journalism more important to everyone.

To reach this bright, prosperous future, everyone in the news industry must see themselves as leaders and trailblazers, identifying common goals and being willing to take those bold steps forward.

“Quality news will be central to creating a better future,” Dawson said. “This is truly a pivotal phase in humanity, and quality news must be part of it. That is part of the future and I believe that is the way to bring back the prosperity of the news industry.”  

The Virtual World Congress continues on Thursday, May 7.  

About Paula Felps

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