Creating the future newspaper

The Journal Register, a US newspaper company, has signalled the death of traditional news gathering by adopting a completely new, social media-driven process.

Editors and journalists ask the readers online what they would like to have covered, emailing them and sharing ideas with them. They are sharing draft stories with their readers and getting them to comment on them. This is news as a collaborative process.

Rather than journalists saying, ‘we decide the news and here it is, take it or leave it,’ they are involving readers in the process of news generation.

It is a fascinating development and you can’t help thinking that a lot of newspapers who are struggling in the midst of this new world of communications could learn a lot from this company’s example – however foreign it may seem to their assumed patterns of behaviour.

However I think this example works on many levels: sure it is a good insight into how newspapers need to change and the changing relationship between readers v journalists. But also it illustrates, at another level, how businesses and brands need to be more collaborative. They also need to be more open and accountable and involve their stakeholders more in what they are doing and in the shaping of their services and products. Pioneers in this field like Dell are already well ahead of the herd and are adopting these techniques.

What is happening to newspapers is bringing into sharp focus some of the issues that other organisations are facing, as social media continues to accelerate and affect how people think and share information.

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