How to restructure newsroom operations and create sustainable business models for the digital age are priorities for newsrooms around the world. In advance of a webinar on Wednesday, 16 January, media analyst Ken Doctor offered some advice to newsrooms facing multiple challenges on what to areas to invest in and focus on, and how to make readers pay for your content.
WAN-IFRA: There used to a rough formula/rule-of-thumb (at least for many US newsrooms), that you had one journalist for every 1,000 copies of circulation. Do you think there’s a new formula? Or are things changing too fast to be able to calculate an equivalent today?
Doctor: Just as the old business model has broken down, so has the newsroom math that used to accompany it. Smarter companies actually have increased the percentage of their overall spending in the two areas that matter most for the future: news content-creating capacity and advertising sales. The last five years have seen unparalleled cost-cutting, beginning with the great frightsizing of 2008-2009. So we’ve seen cuts across the boards and while we’ve seen some appropriate Big Iron - presses, pre-production and trucking - cuts, newsrooms have lost much capacity.