Raju Narisetti and Digital Journalism, Part 2

This is the second part in a series about Raju Narisetti’s presentation at the West Virginia University School of Journalism on October 29.

5. Web video offers a possible way out. At this moment, WSJ is the single largest producer of web video on the internet. There’s a demand for it. The really good part: video is the first type of journalism where the business model travels with the content.

Think about it: you can watch news anywhere, and the advertising that comes at the beginning always plays, no matter how you watch it. Boom – consistent revenue.

6. Mobile might be a threat or an opportunity, but one thing is true: it is a journalism reality. More people than ever are using mobile devices to consume data. Before you make something, ask yourself: is what I’m making going to look good on a phone? On a tablet? As you think about a package, ask yourself: “What mobile experience do I want to give?”

7. Great journalism still matters, but how people experience that journalism matters more. Most of our audience is going to be digital. The problem with that is the buffer time that used to exist for great news stories is now gone – people want their stories immediately, which is dangerous for accurate reporting.

Everyone has stories at the same time, Given the immediacy of our news environment, we can’t worry about being first – we have to worry about creating the best experience. Take something completely available to everybody and make it a unique experience, then next time something happens, people will come to you to see what you’ve created.

8. Good and bad journalism experiences come at the intersection of content and technology. A good journalism experience is made with a combination of good media and good storytelling. That being said, are you working with your programmers?

There’s a problem, though – a lot of journalists don’t know how to talk to programmers. Journalists think their words, their photos are art – everything else is just stuff.

For the IT guys, coding is art. Everything else is just stuff. So how do you speak the same language? Ask yourself this question when you’re working with a coder:

What is the end product that we want to provide? That way you can agree on how things in a news package should work and what they should do.

9. Newsrooms now face a new competitor: our advertisers. The advertisers are becoming storytellers. Look at General Electric – thanks to social media and powerful digital self-publishing, GE can circumvent journalism outlets and build their own audiences.

It’s not going to be easy to bring these advertisers back. A lot of their budgets that used to be spent on advertising are now dedicated to “content marketing,” their version of digital media packages. Overcoming these challenges requires us as journalists to shake our old notions of church and state – we need to consider native advertising and sponsored content. We can’t ignore this any further.

So how do we help advertisers spread their content? We need to make sponsored content transparent and lay down our own rules. If we don’t, that money is going away for good. At the end of the day, the competition is for the single non-renewable resource readers have – time. If we can get more of their time we can get more ads.

Look at Red Bull Stratos – 25 million people watched a man jump to earth from the top of the atmosphere, and it was all a huge marketing event. People could have spent their time anywhere, and they spent it with Red Bull.

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