Think Tank

Big deal?

Why the World Congress of News Media was so big this year Earl Wilkinson was visibly surprised by the size of the audience at last week’s congress in London. From my point of view the size of the audience was in direct relation to the size of the issues at stake.

“I have never seen an audience this big.” Not my words, but those of Earl Wilkinson as he opens the International News Media Association (INMA) World Congress of News Media.

I’m in the audience and looking around me it’s clear the INMA Executive Director is not exaggerating. A native Texan, you might expect Earl to talk big, but this really is big, and not just in terms of numbers. It’s hard not to think that the attendance is being driven by the fact that our industry has never faced such big threats, such a big learning curve, or such a big need to adapt fast if it is to survive… and thrive.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts directly from the conference over the next few days, but right from the start there are some big issues raised, that will need to be examined in detail:

– Yes, AI is shaking up business models and providing ethical challenges. All the more reason to tackle it head on and as soon as possible since dragging our feet could leave us out of the race.

– Commitment to quality journalism remains essential, especially in the face of the above.

– That commitment is part of a funnel leading to subscription models, but there is a risk of creating an information elite in the process.

– For all the risks, the rewards are there for the taking. New forms of revenue, such as e-commerce and events complement traditional sources such as subscriptions and advertising.

– The next few days won’t be a series of cosy fireside chats about new fonts, or websites. They will be about how news brands can maintain their relevance and impact.
I for one, can’t wait.

About Upgrade Media: Upgrade Media is a creative agency, strategy consultancy, training center and media transformation think tank, through its brand New World Encounters.

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