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News media industry is hungry to meet challenges, comfortable in new print + digital reality

30 April 2013

INMA CEO Earl Wilkinson ended the 83rd-Annual World Congress with his thoughts on the emerging news media outlook for 2014 and beyond.



The mood of the news industry is different than four years ago, when media leaders felt desperate and ready to hit rock bottom.

Today, they’re anxious and hungry, according to Earl Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA.

In his closing presentation of the 2013 INMA World Conference, he spoke of the divide between digitally disrupted and print-based countries — arguing that both mediums are still relevant.

“Somewhere in the middle, there’s truth for us,” he said. “And hopefully we’ve struck the right balance at this conference.”

As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, news companies must change quickly to keep up.

“We live in exponential times, and that’s a challenge when we are an incremental industry, at least historically,” Wilkinson said.

The news industry is going through a culture change, becoming a hybrid industry of multi-media companies, Wilkinson said. And the transition encourages re-ordering the news business to these expectations.

“Print-digital is starting to look like something familiar and comfortable. We’re starting to get comfortable in our own skin.”

This marriage of digital and print will change the universe soon, Wilkinson said, as mobile begins to dominate the market and connectivity with Wi-Fi spans across the globe while new technology drives down cost.

Wilkinson suggested some key concepts news companies should keep in mind as they head toward a multi-media-focused era:

  • The news industry is given the task of providing audiences with quality journalism, but news publishers are at different points in the funnel.

  • News brands across multiple platforms create limitless opportunities that publications must capitalise on.

  • News publications must focus on core competencies.

Together, news organisations must restructure the industry to accommodate the changing landscape of journalism.

“We’re buried in yesterday’s culture, today’s need to deliver a number, and ultimately tomorrow’s deadline,” Wilkinson said. “We need a new sense of urgency now. We need to transform and innovate now.”

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