Over history, the news industry has always been heavily impacted by – and then it has adapted to – technological change. Town criers gave way to printing presses, and typesetting was replaced by photocomposition. Our industry has always found ways to transmit the latest news in the fastest and most efficient ways possible.
It isn’t hyperbole to say that our current digital transformation is the biggest since the invention of the printing press. But we are fully embracing it. The potential for reaching larger audiences with better and more impactful journalism is absolutely endless.
We can transport viewers to virtual worlds to experience stories almost first hand while, at the same time, delivering the breaking news that individuals care about directly to them, at any time of day. Our ever-evolving technological tools allow us to showcase and advance quality journalism – while also constantly pushing new experiences and innovation.
In addition to being innovators themselves, news companies are partnering with – and are large customers of – startup tech companies. Some of these relationships have been formed through the annual Accelerator Pitch Program at our mediaXchange, where the best and brightest entrepreneurs present their fresh ideas for reaching our audiences and growing our bottom lines. Since the program launched in 2014, numerous technology startups have partnered with legacy publishers to help meet their needs and those of the consumer while also forging a new, powerful path for our industry.
Here are just a few examples of the way established media brands and technology startups are working together to reimagine news:
- Almost two-thirds of Facebook and Twitter users get their news from these two social media platforms, according to a Pew Research Center study. Social News Desk understood that tracking social mentions and pushing out content on numerous platforms can be burdensome, so they created a management tool “built specifically for broadcasters and publishers” to schedule, track and search content from one centralized hub across multiple accounts. Tampa Bay Times, whose staff updates 35 various Facebook and Twitter accounts daily, posts through SND more than 2,000 times per month. Two years after SND presented at mediaXchange, it has continued to expand its offerings and hone its tools and today, more than 900 newsrooms use the service.
- Touchcast, a program whose services have been used by The Wall Street Journal, the BBC and more, makes it easier to shoot and edit high-quality video content through iPad, mobile or desktop software. Not only does Touchcast help users produce video content four times faster than current production methods, it offers vApps, or “video apps,” that incorporate valuable digital content—Twitter and news feeds, maps and customized polls—into the video itself to make it more dynamic and interactive.
- Startup app saambaa pairs publishers’ local and entertainment content with the audience that is looking for the next event or something to do. Users can see what’s going on in their local area (map and direction capabilities are included) and create an event, invite friends and group message all within the app. saambaa has gained incredible momentum and has partnered with publishers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Morning Call and Hearst, and launched the Play SA app for the San Antonio Express-News by repackaging their local content.
These startups and countless others have dramatically enhanced how we are producing content and distributing our product. Looking ahead to mediaXchange 2016 and the talents that it invites from across the technology sector, I am excited for the new possibilities that are in store for future of our industry.
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David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.