Mediamorphosis

How New Digital Media Must Embrace the Multimedia Revolution Reinventing Editorial Models and Newsroom Management Working Flows


6o years ago (5 July 1954) the BBC broadcasted its first TV news bulletin.

As BBC remembers:

• The format resembled a radio bulletin over still pictures.

• Richard Baker was the first to read the news, but it took three years before he would actually be seen on screen as there were concerns a human face would detract from the serious business of the news.

So, the first BBC TV news bulletin was for three years just “news read” in front of a traditional Radio microphone.

Later a human face “read the news” in front of a TV camera and the old Radio microphone.

But no pictures.
No videos.
No graphics.
No live connections.
Nothing.
Just words, words and words.
Not printed but broadcasted.

Mediamorphosis is Media Re-Evolution not Revolution

Now think about the first Internet websites.

Designed, produced and staffed like “electronic extensions” of print media.

Internet was seen just as a new distribution system.

For the same news.

Reported and edited by the same print newsrooms.

For the same readers?

Not really.

The first websites were not local, regional or national operationsd but “glocal” ones.

The print “core readers” were not alone.

News audiences and communities joined this online platforms.

The first ones to realize this expansion of the print brands were the Circulation and Advertising departments.

Their managers were excited: Intetnet allowed them to reach new readers and new consumers around the world that could interest our usual advertisers but also new ones.

In the newsrooms, reporters and editors decided that Online News outlets were just “electronic papers” to distribute the same news and stories, written in the same language by the same journalists.

Online journalists were not journalists.

They were computer people working for “us”, the journalists.

Or novice interns, not very well paid (if paid at all).

Their job was clear: “shovel journalism”: transferring old content in new digital platforms.

The Multimedia Newsrooms Revolution

20 years after, our newsrooms are confronting the same challenges of any past new media platforms (Magazines, Radio, Television or Internet).

You cannot succed trying to do the same and expect different results.

That’s insane, used to say Albert Einstein.

Today our new Multimedia Journalism cannot be played following orders from “mono-media conductors.”

New “Readers, Audiences and Communities” expect more than that.

Like the British tax payers supporting BBC were expecting proper “TV News Bulletins”, and not just “radio extensions.”

What I have seen in many media markets around the world confirms that this Mediamorphosis is not a Re-Evolution but a Revolution.

So, keep in mind these 10 basic “New Multimedia Rules”:

1. Embrace multimedia as the only journalism way of life, and don’t worry about “pay-walls” but about producing first class, unique, “caviar journalism” content that readers will be willing to pay.
2. Diversification is not enough, convergence is here to stay, and integration is a must because resources need to be optimised and the first ethical duty of a independent quality journalism media company is to be profitable.
3. Reorganise your newsrooms and media business around Content and Audiences and not around Technology of Platforms.
4. Master New Digital Narratives with a mix of new “long form journalism” and “quick-read-formats”
5. Become a real “24/7 full-time” news operation, knowing, understanding, following, interacting and serving your public.
6. Rethink your editorial models for a news “always on” media landscape.
7. Update your “Digital First” working flows in “open-space” integrated newsrooms.
8 Buy a “state-of-the-art” native multimedia CMS.
9 Hire new multimedia talent, and retrain the old one.
10 Welcome visual journalists and developers inside your newsrooms to work not “for you” but “with you” because they are or must act as journalists like “all of us.”

And remember, “read” or “print” online news and stories is not enough.