In addition to publishing our CEO's thoughts on the Digital Age of news coverage, DOK sat down with her to ask a few more directed questions. For the originial interview click here.Ms. Owusu, let’s start with the “customers” of media providers. In your experience, what are the needs of today's readerships that companies must be able to meet?
If one thing is clear, it 's thatreaders want to be kept informed in real-time. We see the perfect example in Social Media. The networks, once conceived for the exchange of personal information amongst friends, soon also became a valuable channel for news providers, thus reflecting just one of the transformations to concern news coverage over the past few years. Users choose their preferred medium, “Like” it, and thus personalise their own information supply and keep themselves always up-to-date. The users no longer want to hear about the latest news in the daily newspapers, but rather in the exact moment when the events occur. Old news isn’t really news anymore. This is also partially why the reader has become more independent. He or she craves short news bites, and is willing to research information on his or her own.
You emphasize that short news wins impact. Has this format replaced the traditional article?
No. Media and publishing houses are now met with the challenge of finding a healthy mix of live-heavy and classic news coverage avenues. With the help of these short facts, they must awaken the interest of their readers and ideally provide the fitting detailed content to their available supply of information. These more detailed formats can be displayed online, but can also be made available for print, too.
To what extent do the topics you mentioned in your article, brand strength and the power of storytelling, have an effect on reach?
The reader has specific expectations about what content is available within particular mediums, so a clear positioning of ones coverage must be made clear. Should the content be informative, thought-provoking, or entertaining? Is it conservative, controversial, or prosaic? This is where the strength of the brand is determined, and, if done correctly, has the opportunity to reach your target audience on a sustainable level. It’s not really possible to work in news coverage without concerning oneself with the subject of storytelling. The reader wants to take hold of the story and become emotionally involved, whether its sports or news coverage. It’s important that storytelling principles are carried out across all formats.
Speaking of sports and news coverage- are their differences in covering the two?
Yes, definitely, especially in these times of "Fake-News". We've seen how smaller news portals were able to share incorrect news, which created a domino effect. Different medias copied and modified the news, so that a significant distortion of the original events took place. A scaffolding of fake-news and opinion-based assertions were made, paired with political biases, which were then scooped up, adjusted, and published by other medias as well.
The sports industry appears to be different. Here, there is only truth. If Germany becomes the World Champion in soccer or if a new marathon winner is crowned, then it is a fact that cannot be distorted. It appears that certain rules exist. Fake news in the sports industry have a far shorter life cycle than political or societal news stories. Not to mention that sports news is also transferred at a massive delivery speed. This is a clear benefit of working in sports coverage. How these principles can be applied to news coverage is difficult to answer. I hope that the coverage of non- sports news will be assisted by the readers ensuring the content they are reading is indeed made up of well-researched facts.
Mobile, Desktop or Print: Who does the future belong to?
All of them, because the formats must mesh with one another. Of course print doesn’t have it easy at the moment, especially the daily newspapers will have problems in the future. But this is why these formats will also transform. The relevance of industry specific magazines, who have positioned themselves as experts within their fields in order to reach their target audiences, is continuing to grow. Media houses and publishers should trust their digital departments in providing a variety of formats and channels for their readers. The sensible combination of live coverage and detailed background articles is the key to a stronger connection with one’s readership. The challenge is to engage the users and to provide them with fitting news, as soon as they need it. Apps are also here just for this transitionary phase. New displays and intelligent systems for all areas of life will one day make the smartphone also obsolete.
Thank you so much for your insights, Ms. Owusu!