Guardian CEO’s five-point guide to the digital future

[Keyword: , , , ]. Roy Greenslade reports on CEO of the Guardian Media Group Carolyn McCall’s blueprint for “newspapers wishing to achieve a successful digital transition.” (also at Editor’s Weblog):

1. Newspapers must have to have a clear digital vision, for which leadership from the top is vital.
2. Staying close to users is more important than ever before. Newspapers have to listen to readers and make sure they are given what they desire, a reversal of the traditional top-down news model.
3. Innovation must be used for learning purposes. Newspapers can’t be afraid to
fail. They must experiment and take risks to see what works. (McCall cited The
Guardian’s blog experiment, Comment is Free, which has hundreds of contributing bloggers and dozens of comments on each post).
4. Software developers are now just as important as journalists.
5. Newspapers must drive digital revenue growth.

The most interesting point for me here is about software developers. Journalists need to realise they’re not as important as they used to be: news has become more than ever a service, and the power and functionality of that service is increasingly down to developers. Content is still important, but when the readers are producing as much as the paid staff, facilitating the conversation depends on effective technologies.

Mind you, if we paid journalists as much as developers, we might not be in the situation we are now…

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