Jerry Liu

Traditional News Media should Embrace the Hardship and Strive for Innovation

By Jerry Liu

As we talked about before, traditional news organizations used to control the news production and distribution process from the beginning to end. However, social and digital media make journalism a more diverse and open process, especially for the distribution channel. Media newcomers use their unique channels to deliver a product that is faster and more personalized than that provided by the traditional news organizations. Their goal is to create new market demand by targeting and engaging new audiences, especially young people.

So what strategsocial_media_innovationies can we borrow from those digital media? According to Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism, business nowadays should focus on people’s potential needs and desires. In another word, people instead of going around looking for products to buy, they only look for a solution through hiring a product or service when they are facing a problem. This is a theory called jobs-to-be-done. I think the key point this theory trying to convey is when thinking a startup idea, always focusing on the problems people may have and ask yourself: who wants this right now?

As mentioned in How to Get Startup Ideas, you can either build something a large number of people want a small amount, or something a small number of people want a large amount. The second type of idea narrows down to a specific group of people with a particular need which is a good starting point. Microsoft and Facebook used the same idea as they started up their business.

According to Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism, there are three factors that affect an organization’s capabilities: its resources, its processes, and its priorities.

Resources include not only people, equipment, technologies and budgets but also relationships with third-party vendors and advertising agencies. In most cases, traditional news media has a great advantage on resources however, this is only a part of the story. Processes represent the patterns of interaction, coordination, communication and decision-making employees use to transform resources into products and services of greater value. Priorities are defined as the standards by which employees decide whether an activity is attractive or unattractive.

From my perspective, an organization’s capabilities are directly related to the culture of the organization. Indeed, it’s a challenge for traditional news media to try to change the newsroom culture in order to adapt to a digital world. The best solution is to find a brand new way to attract audiences regardless the original distribution channel, such as seeking partnership with digital media, launching smart phone app, building social media platforms, creating online discussion forum, or increasing interaction between reporters and audiences. In a word, looking beyond traditional business models to explore new experiences for audiences based upon the existing value network is really crucial for traditional news organizations to strive for innovation and sustainable development.

In conclusion, although traditional news media is encountering such a difficult time, I think it still has the ability to come back strong and lead the news industry through the following ways:

  • Embrace the disruptions and hardship
  • Focus on audiences’ needs and jobs-to-be-done
  • Create brand new distribution channel to engage audiences
  • Build up organization’s innovative culture
  • Courageous leadership with clearly stated mission
  • Consistency and perseverance
  • Think BIG and make it into action

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