What Newspaper Journalists Can Teach You

Amid the financial turmoil plaguing the newspaper industry as a whole, accusations and general finger-pointing have abounded as industry players scramble to figure who’s to blame. You’ve heard the culprits:

  • Greedy owners took on huge debt while banking on unrealistic future profits.
  • The recession.
  • The Internet.
  • And then, of course, many have argued that newspaper journalists themselves were too slow to adapt to the digital landscape.

A recent report by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center, “Life Beyond Print: Newspaper Journalists’ digital appetite,” sheds a bit of light on this last one at least.

Here are the really interesting findings:

Of the 3,800 journalists surveyed in 79 newsrooms, the majority of journalists believe their newspaper’s shift to digital is moving too slowly, and some wish to see a dramatic increase.

Only 14 percent wish to see things stay the same, while 6 percent wish they could “turn back the clock” to the good old days when print dominated and computers comprised the hobby work of cutting-egde, if not a bit strange, enthusiasts.

So how does your organization match up?

Still advertising exclusively in the yellow pages? How is your website looking these days? (Dare I ask, do you have a website?)

OK, so let’s say you’ve passed those tests. Let’s dig a bit deeper. How is your website driving your bottom line? How does it contribute to top line growth? Are you even measuring your interactive efforts?

To come full circle to the examples of the journalists, one thing to keep in mind is the people factor. How many in your organization think you are moving too slowly to adapt to the digital age? How many yearn for days gone by when you didn’t have to think about it?