I’ve long been meaning to reveal what general advice my firm has been giving its clients this past year. To succeed in this new century, every online news organization must incorporate into its operations the following ten components. Note that the order of these components is important because each (with the exception of the last) builds atop the previous ones. These are:
- ‘Evergreen’ Services
- Structured Data
- Digital Editions
- Services to Mobile Devices
- Embedded Links
Because I amidst making the first major change in my consulting business in the past 11 years (which I hope to announce next week), I’ve barely time here to write about one of these components daily. So, let’s start with Immediacy and I’ll try to write about another component each day.
Immediacy — As soon as a print or broadcast news organization receives a story or alert, it should immediately publish that online. No news organization should wait to publish news first in print or broadcast. This will become ever more important as more and more people get their news from online or mobile devices, rather than from the traditional vehicles of paper, television, or radio.
Any news organization’s goal should be to make its consumers think it ‘owns’ all breaking news in its community. It should become the first place people go online for news. Because a website can provide a totally up-to-date news reports more quickly than can almost any newspaper or any radio or television broadcast (most of which broadcast news only at scheduled hours or, in cases of all news channels or stations, broadcast specific topics only during certain minutes of the hour), then the news organization must publish news first online and later in radio, TV, or print.
You might think this ‘immediacy’ advice would be unnecessary to give news organizations more than ten years after most began operating online. Unfortunately, it is not. Many news organizations do publish much news immediately online. However, too many newspapers wait until their news has first been printed and too many TV and radio stations wait until their news has first been broadcast. Anything that can be done to make more news be published first online must be done by these news organizations.
Many, if not most, newsroom staffs are reluctant to have all news published online before print or broadcast. They know it is true that if they do publish it first online, then there might be times when some competitors will learn about that news from the news organization’s websites and might be able to print or broadcast that news before they themselvespublished it in print or broadcast. However, that’s a risk worth taking. It is a minor risk compared to the general risk of the news organization not becoming people’s dominant online source of news and information. A news organization should want to be the first to inform people, and not just the first that informs them in print or broadcast.