Opening up the newsroom is a new trend that spins off the idea that co-creation is the key to loyal readers. I believe in it, or at least that co-creation is a necessity for part of the readers to become or remain loyal when some readers are loyal as is. But as Anette Novak says it so much better and has first hand experience of it, you’d better read about it from her, here.
However, reading Anette’s blog post I came to think about something similar – the co-creation of the business itself. Or call it by its old-fashioned name; networking. But I’d like to find it a better term than networking. Networking has a sound of “mingling on an event and sharing fragments of ideas” to it. True networking is more than that. As a phenomenon it’s closer to mentoring than just the sharing of bits and pieces that networking often is. But mentoring implies that there is an apprentice and a master, someone old in the game and someone new. We don’t need that now – there is no grand old man for the new media landscape of tomorrow.
For the print media to overcome the challenges we are facing today we need true networking. Not all companies are fully staffed with the most brilliant minds and the most productive people. We are more or less stuck with the people we have. And too many in the print media industry are happy and content with the business as it has been the past thirty years or so. Some big media players might be able to re-staff with brilliance and productiveness but most are not. (And yes, I do know that we need the people who have the old kind of know how as well, I do.)
The simple fact is that we need each other. We are faced with new challenges and it is just plain stupid not to search for answers amongst colleagues in other media companies, academic media researchers and even people in other industries. Together we are smarter and more creative.
We need to get together and start networking for real. Networking in a more mentoring way. Networking and trusting each other. There are many things we can share and co-ponder without sharing business secrets. Instead of mingling on seminars and events and trying to pry the competitor on some secrets or scrabbling quick notes while some guru is talking about how their multinational company launched a new iPad app we should find people we can co-create our future with. Co-create the media business of tomorrow.
In “reader co-creation” the reader gives input to the journalistic process. In co-creating the entire business I believe in long lasting networking with people you trust. People who are close enough to your business to understand it but far enough either in geographical terms, business wise or in mindset not to misuse the relation. Preferably people that challenge you with their chain of thought and whom you challenge with yours.
The media companies that will succeed will be those that are able to embrace the common know how of the industry, listen to the quiet messages of the readers and implement this knowledge in their own daily life. (Now substitute the word companies in the previous sentence for individuals, it is just as true). Although one additional thing is necessary for the companies to succeed: the retention of the skilled and the brilliant. There are enough challenges for the brilliant out there not to stay put if their brilliance is not appreciated.