INMA: How to respond to the fraying relationship between media brands and audiences

Plus WAN-IFRA releases an excellent report on building data capabilities in newsrooms

We’re in a period of profound change in media and journalism right now, and I think that Edward Roussel, head of digital for The Times, puts it best when he says that there the relationship between “media brands and audiences is fraying”. I was just re-reading this year’s Reuters Institute digital news report, and it puts a figure to this fraying “Across markets, only around a fifth of respondents (22%) now say they prefer to start their news journeys with a website or app – that’s down 10 percentage points since 2018,” the report found. Add to this news avoidance and a collapse in trust in news not only in the US but the UK and elsewhere, and it begins to underscore the challenge facing media companies. We must develop and nurture direct relationships with audiences so that they will be willing to support what we do, whether that is journalism or more creative content.

From this overview by INMA, Roussel says that media companies need to end their reliance on search and social. For social media, it is a recognition of the collapse in traffic from social platforms, but moving away from search is also future-proofing your business for expected changes brought by AI. This is a shift from demographic profiling to individual profiling, from third-party to first-party data and from a focus on growth metrics to engagement metrics. This is worth keeping in your back pocket because it summarises some of these major shifts in media and also how companies will need to respond to them.

When it comes to making these changes, data underpins it all, and WAN-IFRA has a report on what drives data adoption. I remember at a recent conference by FT Strategies and Google that an FT product manager spoke of how data had become a common language that bridged different parts of their business. I’m commonly asked how to start the journey to becoming a data-led organisation, and this report discusses the various ways that news organisations are doing this. One takeaway: Yes, there are best practices, but every journey seems to have unique elements based on the culture of the organisation.

And while subscriptions are the foundation of a modern media business, successful companies quickly branch out into other products and revenue streams to add resilience to their operations. Content licencing is just one of many options.

A daily newsletter is a real commitment, and I remember from a time when I had the time that this newsletter almost became daily. Here are some great tips on how to remain committed and engaging. “Helping guide you through the noise.” Yes, please, more of that.

Columbia Journalism School opens doors and provides its students with a tremendous network and step up for any journalism career. But the price of admission is too much for many, and the costs can weigh journalists down for years and also prevent them from taking many opportunities that don’t pay six figures. It’s important to note that my first journalism job paid $2000 less than a first-year teacher in the community where I lived, and local journalism jobs can often pay as little as $22,000, the starting salary that was paid to

This makes me profoundly uncomfortable. When platforms have so much power that they get in the way of people getting critical public safety information, then I’m really not happy about that.