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Practice what they preache - The future of journalism Cardiff 2013

Dutch regional news dailies have adapted a digital strategy as a response to readers’ and advertisers’ shift to online news consumption. The question remains how visible, functional and effective the converged digital publication tools and platforms are that could be expected as a consequence of this ambition. In this study we explore to what extent the declared convergence ambitions are reflected in the day-to-day online production reality, as an indicator for the proficiency of innovation management. We performed content analyses on eight regional newspapers from four major Dutch publishers. We studied the way political news was produced in the print and digital editions, on the website and mobile platforms, and via social media news channels. Results show that although convergence ambitions were comparable, everyday online production practices differ substantially between the cases analyzed. Overall we have seen poor visibility and low functionality of digital tools and platforms. We argue that the effectiveness of convergence as a digital strategy to regain readers is low. New platforms and the content on these platforms don’t show a full commitment to digital innovation.

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Practice what they preache - The future of journalism Cardiff 2013

  1. 1. S Practice what they preach? Convergence at regional newspapers, between ambition and reality Marco van Kerkhoven & Piet Bakker HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht School of Journalism
  2. 2. Regional daily in decline… 2000 2013 Circulation 2,4 million 1,6 million Titles 25 18 Per 100 households 35 23 • 3-5 % sales decrease every year • no region left with competing papers • 4 no-paper cities • 30 % staff decrease In past ten+ years:
  3. 3. S ambition (interviews 2011) vs practice (content analyses 2012) Convergence to the rescue?
  4. 4. ‘we need to be more present online’ ‘cross media is the future’ ‘with video news we expect more visitors’ management and workfloor:
  5. 5. eight dailies (4 publishers)
  6. 6. S • monitoring: • Digital newspaper and website • Mobile sites and applications • Social media (Facebook and Twitter) • 2 * 2 weeks - six days - 24/7
  7. 7. coding
  8. 8. A/V – UGC
  9. 9. Cross content
  10. 10. Social media
  11. 11. innovators Online video news Z2 Online video news Z2
  12. 12. followers Stopped TwitterMainly service page
  13. 13. S Conclusions/discussion • Vision or strategy poor • Convergence practices ad hoc and infrequent • Overall: convergence practice generally not in line with ambitions
  14. 14. questions/remarks?