Friday, June 23, 2006

Crossmedia journalism (3)

Newspapers: not so cross yet

The Dutch newspapers were well represented at the conference: the national newspaper De Volkskrant, the regional newspaper AD and the free sheet Spits. It was clear that they all were grappling with the future of the combination of their newspaper, internet and RTV.

Bob Witman the managing editor of De Volkskrant put the problem in one sentence: he has an organisation of 230 people editorial staff, of which 10 are concerned with Internet, producing 1 product. Now he wants to move to a multimedia strategy. He has gone through a change of independent editorial departments into one editorial staff with a multiple media output (he used the term crossmedial output). So there is now a central editorial staff with a central flow news manager, in jest called: God; his assistant is the Son of God. Now sub staffs are responsible for the crossmedia products such as print, internet and SMS. The newspaper leans heavily on internet. It does not have a 24 hours site yet, but de Volkskrant launched de Volkskrant 16:00 as the day’s cup of soup. The newspaper is now selecting domains to fill in their internet site with amongst others travels. And in the editorial units media specialities can be developed; not every journalist will have to be a camjo with a pencil and scratchpad. It is clear that de Volkskrant is now going to work with print and internet seriously, be it more as extended media than crossmedia. Radio and television will be the next area to be tested.

The regional newspaper AD with 22 local/regional editions earns its money with print. It is a new newspaper with an older editorial staff, working with new technology. The editorial staff has a multimedia ambition, but this has not crystallised yet. There is a site, but this is no more than an extension of the print edition.

The free sheet Spits, a member of the De Telegraaf Group, is reaching its borders with a circulation of 450.000 copies, 1,7 million penetration and a target group of 18 to 35 years old people. Now Spits is looking to the next five years. Internet will be part of that more intensively than at present. TV will also be part of this, using the recent joint venture of 6Pack. Narrowcasting will be done by radio. This means a drastic change in the advertisement department, while the editorial staff (on average 27 years old) will have to move from working 90 percent for print to 50 percent. Presently the editorial staff is obsessed by a news soap project.

Dutch newspapers have internet sites, but this does not mean that they are part of a crossmedia masterplan. Radio and television are the next areas in their multimedia spectrum. So newspapers are not so cross yet. Besides the speed to crossmedia will be determined by the average age of the editorial staff and the willingness of editorial staffs to cooperate with the advertisement department.

Tags: crossmedia,

Blog Posting Number: 419

1 comment:

hoong said...

I am not so sure about other newspapers you mentioned in this blog. But the reason why Spits is so popular is because most of their readerships found in trains and busses. If they go internet, how many of us would want to turn on the laptop while travelling to work/school etc. on the busses or trains?
How many persons carry/can afford/have a laptop is also my other question. Or bother to carry one unless MUST. Just sit on any train and observe would be the simplest test.

As for podcasting, perhaps. But would everyone 'listen' to all the news and tidbits? or listen to music?

One of the things that puzzle me is, companies seem to want the public to do everything online, yet I do not find many 'responses' coming from the companies 'online' to take care of their clients. For example, a company might provide a service for sending in emails enquiries, but often time the emails would be answer after days IF answer at all. The major problem I see is, the world seems to think that if we go online, our behaviour should be different. Dead wrong. Companies still dealing with human beings. Human being DON't change. In this example, text-emails ONLY replaces voice-phone. Enquires is enquires. Consumers want the info NOW. Not 2 weeks.

KLM is about the only company I know that hire personels to take care of emails responses.

Dosen't matter how we deal with media. Studing human behaviour properly would help the mystery of getting messages/communicaton ACROSS. Isn't that what the core interest of 'mass media'?