Plenty of people think that in the process of integrating the written press with the digital one, the heaviest burden, when it comes to reinvention, is carried by the traditional journalists.
But instead, the challenge is actually bigger for the digital media, without this meaning that the printed newspapers should necessarily agree with being the rearguards or show themselves as individuals who take a major amount of time to innovate.
In the printed news, the biggest step is a mental and even an emotional one. However, in the digital news, the challenge is related with nothing beyond the technology and the energy that creativity demands. Here, the journalism is nourished by new blood, from young people that have been born in this new era where the technology meets a huge revolution and where these young individuals already wholeheartedly know every single one of said revolutions’ tricks, just like they know every of their human fingers.
Because of this, two cultures manage to gravitate in parallel: one that privileges the fundamental essences of the journalism (and is cultivated into the written press), while the other synthesizes itself in the the idealism of “digital first”, based in those premises of the instant and quick, supported by those voiced or audiovisual sources and their interactivity.
Both of them attempt to connect with the specific interests and predilections of an audience that’s quite good at dividing itself when they feel like satisfying their own newsworthy needs that could also include specialized information.
The printed news project their content towards the general universe of traditional readers, without falling apart from their main responsability which is to tell and put a lot of depth into those reports and without oversighting that in the process of hybridizating this result with the digital versions, they have to adjust all of their content with the different platforms, in such ways that they differ from the original ones.
Each digital platform has its particular features, accommodated, at the same time, to the peculiar likings of their audiences. What’s left for the digitals is to dominate the diversity of menus and levels of exigency and to serve to each whatever they ask for. In this world, innovations are frequent and challenging.
That’s why I said at the beginning that the imperative of reinvention, for the printed news, starts by change of mentality of those who read, whom are used to the traditional model of journalism. By making them understand that the change is real and naturally assume it as an unavoidable fact.
We must respond, then, to two audiences that operate in parallel fields, to one that seeks the fresh news and to another one, that seeks the ones that hold the most credibility and the ones that give us a more plausible and thorough vision of reality.
The challenge of the digital journal lies on picking the perfect compass to follow the preferences of their users, and for that they build a mechanism of metrics that go measuring the frequency of readers stopping by or the frequency of a specific news article, which causes their daily schedule to be very conditioned for those metrics.
The printed journals, at the same time, cannot be completely indiferent to these dynamics, therefore they had to change their daily schedule to take into account what the street demands, but in the tonic of getting to touch the deepest or satisfying point of their covers.
This is not, however, an absolute ruler, because the team of people who work for the printed newspapers, plan out their work for medium to long-term horizons, differently to the digital media, where the news should be out as soon as possible, and in this model you can’t either assume a total dependence or a dependence conditioned to any rushes.
I insist that if this model of integration is mutually convenient and even fascinating, we can’t take as less for certain the fact that some platform could lose its natural identity (neither its essential mission) pretending to render out the printed news as a digitial journal nor the other way around.
To be clear.
– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.