Digging Deeper

A Three-Pronged Strategy for Survival

Leading change can be exceptionally daunting during periods of tremendous disruption, such as the news industry is witnessing now.  A period of denial is usually followed by a prolonged period of confusion as both promising start-ups and established businesses stumble when they attempt to reinvent the business model.

Over time, the noise subsides and strategies to cope with the disruption begin to emerge.  But successful leaders realize that creating a new strategy is only the first step.  Now, they must then implement it, amid resistance from many employees and loyal customers.

During a period of dramatic change, there are no guarantees of success for either existing businesses or start-ups.  But from experience in other industries that have dealt with such upheaval, we know that we cannot continue to conduct business as usual.   So let’s start with some advice from Allegra Jordan, managing director of Innovation Abbey, a strategy consulting firm.   She has worked for and advised a number of traditional media organizations and digital start-ups, from USA Today to AOL.  Here’s her take on the challenges and opportunities facing both established companies and newcomers as they seek to implement transformative strategies.

In this section, Digging Deeper, we explore how some community newspapers profiled in Saving Community Journalism are implementing a three-pronged strategy that aggressively addresses the attacks on cost structure, customer base and revenue posed by the Internet.  In the process, they are repositioning their organizations so they can survive and thrive in the digital age.

Each chapter in this section includes interviews with leaders profiled in the book.   They’ll elaborate on the strategic reasoning behind the various initiatives they are pursuing to shed legacy costs, build community across multiple platforms and pursue new revenue.    There are also examples of how these organizations are creating communities of special interests, for example, or reconnecting with local advertisers.

These chapters will continue to grow, as we add more examples of successful efforts to reinvent the journalistic and economic models that will support and sustain strong community news organizations in the years ahead.  Have a suggestion for an example we should include?  Go to Stay Up-To-Date, and under the heading, Questions and Suggestions, let us know.

The various chapters in Dig Deeper correspond with and supplement Chapters Four through Seven in Saving Community Journalism.