Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Indy fears

New-media fears at The Independent are none too surprising for a company that hasn't invested in online while its rivals have.

A report carried by The Guardian focuses on Independent chief executive Ivan Fallon's scepticism about the huge investment being made in online by other newspaper groups.

Fallon has voiced concern about how newspapers will integrate their print and online operations and he doesn't believe newspaper reporters are necessarily suited to the kind of multimedia journalism that the newspaper groups are focusing on.

"The difficulty is getting print journalists to adapt to new media -- most print journalists do not translate very easily to podcasts or radio or TV. To call upon reporters to turn round and broadcast their stories on the internet and make stories available in real time -- I don't see a model for monetising that."

His comments have come following activity by the Telegraph Group and the multimillion pound investment the group has made in creating a "newsroom of the future".

Fallon's comments, defensive in nature, are not surprising, since it’s well known that The Independent hardly has two buttons to rub together when it comes to online activity, while its rivals, led by The Guardian, push the boundaries of new media activity.

He, and I think the Telegraph Group, are taking the whole thing too literally. Newspaper groups should experiment and develop new streams of activity, be it blogging (like the Guardian's Comment is Free), podcasting or web TV, but it doesn't necessarily have to be all done by the same people in the exact same place.

Yes, there will be some newspaper journalists who want to multi-task and make excellent radio presenters/podcasters, or columnists who are naturals are reading their pieces so that they can be downloaded.

Others might look good on TV, but not all and there is no reason for them to. The core business of newspaper groups has changed. Of course, they will continue to produce perfectly good newspapers, but alongside those papers will be an equally large related operation that produces many different types of content that involves different kinds of skills.

Where there is symmetry, there should be integration, but there is no reason to force square pegs into round holes.


At 5:31 PM, Anonymous the online gnome said...

You're spot on Gordie, these dead tree media offerings aren't going to just roll over and die but DO need to adapt! A strong print proposition will enhance the brand but this sort of hesitancy about online is foolish. This isn't 98. We know online works. There's a strong readership for online offerings and there's plenty of ways to make money out of online.

Whether that be old school banner/sky/buttons or MPUs/sponsored podcasts/intext doesn't matter. The point is these fools need to get with the programme!

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous scandal please said...

I'm shocked by the whole matter really. i can't believe they didn't give any other managers' names apart from redknapp and allardice. i wanted real scandal but ended up with a damp squib.


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