API Crisis Meeting Results

….to talk again in six months? That seems to be the main suggestion from the three reports my fellow RJI Fellow Bill Densmore sent around yesterday:

From Editor & Publisher: API Summit Concludes: Industry in ‘Crisis,’ Needs Outside Help

From Presstime, an NAA blog: API Summit on Saving an Industry in Crisis

From the American Press Institute: CEO Summit on Saving an Industry in Crisis

The most thorough of the reports is the last on the list. James Shein, a turnaround specialist and professor
crisiscurveat Northwestern U’s Kellogg School of Management led the analysis:

Shein, who researched the basic financials of the public companies represented at the summit, concluded that as a whole the industry is at or approaching full-blown crisis stage, though individual companies are in various phases on the continuum. And he is pessimistic about their ability to halt their fall without outside help.

“The biggest hurdles to progress the industry’s senior leadership, including some of the people in this room.” Shein told the group. “I am not sure you can take a look at your industry with fresh eyes.”

Since there’s no way to add comments to any of the three writeups (there’s no way to do so on the first two, and the API comments function doesn’t work….I’ll let Jeff Jarvis play with that symbolism), I’m adding another suggestion to a list I put together last week before the API meeting: For the days of the week that the newsPAPER itself — the printed news product — isn’t making gocovermoney, follow the lead of the Lawrence Journal-World, as described by LJ World’s general manager, Al Bonner, in Alan Mutter’s blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur: try something different. In this case, a “themed edition” — a Monday “lite” news magazine aimed at women. Advertisers loved it; nearly a whole year of editions was sold out before launch.

News organizations, the ones with papers, really need to do something different with their papers. The Web’s SUCH a better way to sift through the news of the day, to plunge deep into the depths of a topic, to experience the story appropriately (some combo of video, still photos, audio, graphics, text), to scamper along linked trails to related information, and to have conversations with others about the day’s events, that the paper’s got to do something different. I’ve always said that newspapers as we know them will disappear. That doesn’t mean that paper as a distribution platform will disappear anytime soon, especially during this transition time, when most of the revenues still come from paper. It may mean, however, that news(paper) organizations that don’t make a transition quickly will disappear, as the API meeting demonstrates.

In the meantime, I think there’s plenty of opportunity for journalists and journalism, and that’s the focus of our work at RJI.


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