Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Telegraph online: an internal perspective

[Keyword: , ]. More Telegraph perspectives, this time from Shane Richmond, the Daily Telegraph's online editor. His blog contains some essential reading on the issues facing newspapers in the digital age, which Roy Greenslade sums up here:
"Richmond explains the need to serve fragmenting audiences - giving them different material through different channels at different times of the day - and to be humble enough to give them what they want. He points to the importance of journalists who specialise because their knowledge will be sought. Similarly, he acknowledges the pulling power of personalities whose opinions are sought. These will build audiences through their blogs.

"He also points to the need for speed. Breaking news has to go up online asap. Reporters must "work like an agency reporter" by filing copy "in chunks" to get the basics up first and then adding quotes, context and background in subsequent postings. And here's the rub: "If you have an exclusive, you have to be honest about whether it will hold until the print edition tomorrow. If it won't, publish it now and be first. A scoop is a scoop, whatever the medium."

"Turning to the problem of monetising content, Richmond acknowledges that charging people - through subscription or one-off payments (aka micro-payments) - will not work. Advertising remains the best hope of providing an income stream. And this will depend, of course, on winning an audience for the editorial content.

"Finally, he touches on the ownership of content in a world where search engine giants, such as Google, can point people to thousands of sources in an instant. It costs Google nothing to provide and costs the searcher nothing to receive. But he is not keen on the proposal - by Simon Waldman, director of digital publishing at The Guardian - to develop some kind of licensing system for content, arguing that it is "vulnerable" because some search engine might offer such a service and then simply refuse to pay. Instead, Richmond places greater faith in the development of specialist and personality journalism which, he claims, is "harder to break it up." I have to say that that's an interesting approach."

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