Product is the newest, fastest-growing team at news media companies

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


Although product is the youngest department in news media, it is also the fastest growing. It breaks down traditional department silos, and the product mindset is effective for both new and existing products.

The definition of product within news media organisations is evolving, Jodie Hopperton, INMAs Product Initiative lead, told attendees at the INMA World Congress of News Media on Tuesday. Today, it is defined as “a cross-organisation function, working closely with editorial and technology, which balances the consumer experience with business objectives.”

Jodie Hopperton, INMA’s Product Initiative lead, defined product in media.
Jodie Hopperton, INMA’s Product Initiative lead, defined product in media.

Based on a benchmark survey conducted by INMA in December, many companies haven’t yet created product teams and, of those that have them, 16% created the teams within the past four years — and 23% were formed in the past year.

In fact, product covers a wide scope. It can include any and all of the following:

  • Consumer facing/platform (Web, apps, newsletter, e-paper, podcasts).
  • Enabling products (checkout, paywall experiences, personalisation, notifications, advertising).
  • Internal tools (CRM, CMS, advertising tools).
  • B2B (for larger organisations that have already developed the three above).

Product thinking brings the customer experience to the core of the organisation, Hopperton said: “And because it works in every single department, product breaks down the traditional department silos. There’s no longer individual departments.”

The industry is ready for product thinking because of changes in the overall landscape.

“The hours in the day haven’t changed, but there’s more places for people to spend time and there’s more subscription product out there, Hopperson said. Not just for the ears, but in many other places. So the capacity to spend and consume are both at a limit, and that means we really need to focus on our unique selling points.”

Thursday, May 27, is the final day of the 2021 World Congress. Register here for that session and recordings of past sessions.

About Paula Felps

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.