3 trends in digital newsroom transformation

June 23, 2020 – 12 min. read

Video from INMA World Congress in May 2020

Virtual newsrooms, integrated publishing platforms, and a strategy that puts content and user experience first are digital trends that newsroom leaders worldwide are pursuing. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for this greater editorial flexibility even more.

Media companies are facing several challenges: The traditional news channels are being replaced by new digital ones. This adds another layer of technology and demands content in new formats. Consumer habits are also significantly changing, and news organizations find themselves in competition, not only with other media outlets but with a wide range of content providers.

Simultaneously, the need to establish virtual newsrooms is increasing, detaching content production, editing and publishing from physical newsrooms.

Here are three ways leading media companies are currently adapting to this new digital reality.

1. It is all about the story

Mobile-first, print-first, online-first... Mantras for modern news production have been plentiful. However, the trend observed now, called story-first, focuses on the content rather than the channels. It is all about the story, and the channel becomes secondary.

The media industry has recognized that news is no longer the preferred content on the web. Today, only 7% of consumers under the age of 45 would pick news media if choosing just one content channel. This trend is an essential clue to understanding the new media situation.

The story-first approach is based on realizing that to succeed, you need to put your content where the consumer is. In the new attention economy, all platforms are equally crucial.

news is competing in the attention company

"To deliver on a story-first strategy, content must be produced as elastic stories, broken up into smaller units, ensuring that each experience is customized for different channels. We see that content is increasingly produced as adjustable elements that you can configure according to the channel it is published on," says Jacob Gjørtz, VP Marketing at Stibo DX.

This omnichannel strategy requires a well-digitized and robust setup where individual components of content can be activated and combined automatically. That leads us to the second trend.

2. The need for an integrated toolbox

A typical editorial staff member works with 25+ digital editing and publishing tools on a daily basis. As new channels emerge and media companies seek to deliver on their multichannel strategies, the complexity of juggling these tools increases.

The problem is that the various tools used in the content production process are not integrated sufficiently, if at all. This makes it more challenging to automate the news flow. Especially if a new tool and new workflows are added each time a new digital channel is added.

A solution to this problem is a single integrated content creation and publishing platform that can handle crosschannel publishing. "The publishing system of the future should be open, allowing new tools and workflows to be added and automated without delay. Old workflows should be adjusted or removed when no longer needed. Our vision is to provide the technological platform that brings all the tools together in one collective toolbox. This will allow editors to work in-depth with a story-first strategy, adapt more quickly, and offer staff full mobility without reducing capacities", Jacob Gjørtz explains.

Publishing platform as integrated toolbox

3. Freedom to work

Worldwide, newsrooms found themselves practically deserted during the COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, most newspapers were still being published in more or less complete formats.

But the situation made media companies realize the importance of being able to work virtually, and to have a technology stack that provides full mobility to staff members. Stibo DX’s client, Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM), experienced this first-hand as they had to send all staff from 50 newsrooms across Mexico home to work remotely.

“"Being able to send all journalists, editors, and designers home during COVID-19 and have no technical issues is amazing. We could not have done it without CUE."”

Francisco Torres Vázquez

Executive Vice President of OEM

“Thanks to our browser-based CUE Publishing Platform, I had nothing to worry about. Being able to send all journalists, editors, and designers home and have no technical issues is amazing. We could not have done it without CUE,” says Francisco Torres Vázquez, Executive Vice President of OEM.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the virtual newsroom has proved its worth, and it looks like it will continue to be valuable. The trend points to entirely new ways of working with news production from a distance.

Dive deeper into the three trends by watching the top video from Jacob Gjørtz's presentation at INMA Virtual World Congress.