Newspaper Management: A Digital Future


Technology is one of the most powerful influences on media management strategy. “The plethora of technological innovations being developed and incorporated into society on a daily basis serves to supplement and undermine previous technologies. This shift presents media companies and individual professionals with the challenge of constant adaptation to the emergence of new technologies and the progressive abandonment of the old. In turn, the media as an industry (including its professionals) are at the forefront of supercharging the development of and demand for technological innovation. This is a fundamental stress point in any consideration of managing media work” (Deuze, 4).

According to an article in the New York Times on November 13th, John Paton, the MediaNews chief, is leading the newspaper industry into the future of newspaper media by adapting to technological developments. His management at MediaNews included “outsourcing most operations other than sales and editorial, focusing on the cost side that might include further layoffs, stressing digital sales over print sales with incentives, and using relationships with the community to provide some of the content in their newspapers” (Carr). In previous successful positions as chief executive, he increased digital revenue by over 200%, issued Flip cameras to reporters, has pushed for free, Web-based publishing tools, and has formed partnerships with Web companies to provide news.

Paton believes that print sources are either dying or already dead. “He points out that the print dollars have dropped by more than half in the last five years…” (Carr). Additionally, he thinks print papers will cease to exist entirely, and in order to survive, newspapers will have to embrace digital news operations. In Paton’s short time at MediaNews, he states that revenue had decreased and that “digital revenue, which was $6million a year when he took over [in 2010], is projected to reach $32 million this year” (Carr).

Paton is one of the first executives to acknowledge the realistic cost structure of the newspaper industry and the business plans that are needed to support it. In his model, “a third of the news will be expensive local content produced by professional journalists, a third will come from readers and community input, and a third will be aggregated” (Carr). He is also looking to expand user-generated content such as blogs and community photos. The end result would lead to elimination or near-elimination of all print sources, especially in those newspapers that cannot survive as is.

Carr, David. “Newspapers’ Digital Apostle.” New York Times. 13 Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .

Deuze, Mark. “Chapter 1: Managing Media Work.” Managing Media Work. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2011. 1-10. Print.


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