In case you missed the US News & World Report memo about its 2009 growth strategy that was sent to Romenesko last month, it’s worth taking another look — whether you’re an independent entrepreneurial journalist (or soon to be), or inside an existing news organization.
…we are organizing our efforts around five key vertical content channels that will operate as self-contained editorial and business units with their own goals for development and growth, and their own dedicated teams – Nation & World/Opinion, Health, Money & Business, Education and Rankings & Reviews. This is the next phase of our brand transformation that began last spring when we announced that we were moving away from a weekly magazine with a discrete website to become a multi-platform digital publisher of news you can use and analysis.
…each channel will feature a dedicated interdisciplinary team incorporating reporting, editing, sales, marketing, business development, circulation and manufacturing. Teams will be charged with producing even more targeted consumer products, including special reports, daily news updates, blogs, newsletters, rankings, guides and videos, as well as developing lead generation businesses and partnerships.
Yep, they’re creating Web shells and integrating reporting, sales and marketing. Some journalists will moan about losing the wall between news and ads. But jurnos won’t. They operate from the point of view of their communities. They know their communities want good, useful information, whether it comes in the form of news from journalists or from people selling products and services. They also operate in a world of transparency, so that their communities know what advertisers have paid for. If they really want to win the trust of their communities, they’ll also do a little watch-dogging to make sure that the information in those ads is accurate AND let members of the community do so, too.
If US News includes a community manager in each of its teams, and opens its sites to community participation beyond commenting, it’ll have a complete complement of jurnos for its goal of Web-based reporting.