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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2017

We Need to Drastically Rethink The News Startups

One of the strange things about news media is that we haven't really seen any significant changes yet in how it is done. This is despite the fact that every single trend tells us that this market is ripe for a disruption.

People don't actually like the way news is being created today. They don't like the focus, the format, they don't see the point of newspapers still just trying to be random packages of mostly irrelevant content, they think newspapers are focusing on the wrong issues, and so many other things. At the same time, we see very clear trends that people are focusing their attention elsewhere.

With all these problems, isn't it weird then that we aren't really seeing any news startups radically transforming the industry?

But, "Wait-a-minute", you say. "The market has changed. Look at how people are now getting their news (mostly by accident) when they are using Facebook. Or look at how local newspapers are getting more and more of their traffic from 'out of market' audiences (meaning people from across the country). Those are massive changes!"

You are right. But that's a different type of change. What I'm talking about is the news consumption itself. It's still the same as before.

So, in this article, let's talk about why all the news startups aren't making any difference, and what they would need to do instead. Let's also talk about the fundamental problem we have with the news market as a whole, and why changing requires a very different way to think about this.


We are stuck in quicksand

Before we start, let's a talk about why people don't really engage with newspapers in a valuable way.

Back in January I wrote the article "How Would I Create a Newspaper from Scratch, as a Media Analyst?". In this article, I took apart a traditional newspaper, and I wrote about how we could instead make each individual element successful.

For instance, I talked about how the lifestyle section in a newspaper is being taken over by digital natives, who are offering the same thing but as services.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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