(Unfortunately in-)frequently asked questions

(Unfortunately in-)frequently asked questions

: The Media Center — the real forward thinkers and nudgers in the news business — asks a few great questions in their latest brief tome (a pdf):

OLD QUESTION: What is the future of newspapers?

REALLY ASKING: Will editors and reporters have jobs in five years?

SHOULD ASK: How is a connected society informed? Whatís paper got to do with it? What future are newspapers and TV networks creating? What story do they represent?

OLD QUESTION: Whatís the no-kidding business model for newspaper companies?

REALLY ASKING: Do we really trust this Internet thing?

SHOULD ASK: Which business models enabled by the Internet and mobile, digital technologies best serve an informed, connected society? Can news enterprises reimagine their businesses?

OLD QUESTION: How do we make money?

REALLY ASKING: How do we continue doing what weíve always done, maintain high margins, and control markets?

SHOULD ASK: What are alternatives to the advertising subsidy? What business models can capitalize journalism-based businesses? What is the value proposition for new forms of journalism?

OLD QUESTION: From where will journalism come?

REALLY ASKING: Do we really trust other citizens with journalism?

SHOULD ASK: How will a generation of talented storytellers use multiple forms of media to create and share stories that are relevant to the citizens of an always-on world?

  • Jarvis,
    On the question of forward thinking business models for the newspaper industry.
    I think we have an overarching issue that befuddles it.
    I sense that we are now in a sense-making deficit. By sense-making, I mean our sense-making apparatus — how we make sense of a knowledgebit.
    How about some common sense?
    Here’s a summary of “Turning Problems Into Money: How” – full insight is at http://www.malaysia.net/node/150
    A summary — Pillai’s Paradigm:
    Default, the harder a problem, the greater the reward, the lesser the competition, the more uncertain resourcing is.
    Default, the easier a problem, the lesser the reward, the greater the competition, the less uncertain resourcing is.
    Low hanging fruits lie in the sweetspot between “too hard a problem” and “too easy a problem”. Not too hard such that resourcing is so uncertain, not too easy such that competition makes the rewards unworthwhile.
    So the question for newspapers should start with: Given the comparative strengths of newspapers, what problems can they solve?
    Strengths (from a global perspective):-
    1) Newspapers in most markets in the world, still have a not insignificant reach
    2) Newspapers’ mastheads are still some of the best brands. For example, it would be rather easy for a newspaper to initiate a strategic alliance with online savvy in their markets.
    3) Newspapers still have much stronger capital-raising strength compared to online outfits
    4) Newspapers have stronger institutional linkages (with corporates, advertisers etc)
    Now to the problems out there:-
    1) We have a big sense-making problem. Primarily this is caused by Common Sense being uncommon. Why? See http://www.ryze.com/go/bala
    2) Communities have a dire need for imagination. Imagining that a problem has been solved and imagining milestones towards them.
    3) The written word does not appear sufficient for articulating imagination and creativity or for insentience-piercing. There appears to be a clear need to articulate imagination in visual form. For example, see the visual on “How Can We Think Outside The Box If We Can’t See Over The Sides” or any social networks cluster diagram. We would increase reach with visualization.
    Newspapers moved from primarily the News business to the Entertainment business. How about newspapers moving from the Entertainment Business to the Sense-Making Business? Or more aspects of Sense-Making?
    See “Ecosystems Thinking for Mind Ecosystems” for the sense-making axis about which humans vacillate.
    p.s. Readers might also want to see my roadmap for accelerating frictionless synchronization of minds. Using a combination of Knowledge Management (which is mostly Sense-Making), Citizen Journalism, Social Networks and Complementary Currency. See http://www.malaysia.net/bala-interview

  • EverKarl

    The point about re-imagining business struck me, but it’s not about that so much as understanding your business in the first place.
    For example, at one point in America’s history, railroad companies believed they were in the railroad business, rather than the transportation business. Newspaper people who think of themselves as in the newspaper business will suffer the same fate as railroads did.