Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Still no industry consensus: To integrate your print and online newsrooms, or not to....

That has been one of the hottest questions in news organisation for more than a decade. And, despite much, much discussion - and many examples from the UK and elsewhere - there's still no industry consensus.

Just this week, Robert Andrews of PaidContentUK reported that Trinity Mirror chief Sly Bailey, whose Regionals division's integration efforts have been held up as best practice examples internationally, said operations at the national Daily Mirror, for one, would remain separate:
Bailey said Trinity Mirror’s recent national digital executive-level digital reshuffle was about creating a digital division “separate” from print, allowing each to focus on their respective areas.

“It was just too difficult to ask the editor of the Daily Mirror, who has six newspapers to get out every week, (to run the website as well),” Bailey said.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, there are also divergent operational strategies aimed at achieving a similar result: maximising online opportunities [read: revenue].

Five years after America's second largest paper, USA Today, announced that a merger print and online operations "will improve our report to readers both in print and online", the company has had a "radical" rethink.

By contrast, The Cutline reports that a recent reorganisation at the New York Times, that country's largest paper, is aimed at bringing online and print operations even closer together.

What ever else this means (and I look forward to discussing this further), it suggests how you answer the integration questions depends in no small part on how you answer the key question that every business should answer:

What's the most efficient way to sustainably deliver customer value?