Roles of Traditional Publications and New Media in Innovation Journalism

    April 5, 2005

Andreas Cervenka, Affrsvrlden, was working at Sweden’s largest daily during the boom and saw a demand for tomorrow’s news today, so he started his own new media venture.

One thing they started with was the attention of other journalists, as they were shaking things up. Traditional media helped bring them their first readers. Covered a major IPO as the first story that showed up on the web before print. Realized that attention of mainstream media, covering their coverage, was an instrumental tool. Advantage was speed, updates, flexibility on publish dates and story length. But mostly interaction with readers.

Published a story about a CEO who hired his wife into a major bank when she had no experience. In hours, comments showed outrage, even from people in the bank. A few more hours later they issued a press release saying she wouldn’t be hired. All in less than 8 hours.

Learned from what links people clicked on. This effectively shaped how and what we wrote about. Tweaked headlines for better clickthroughs. No tradition in the editorial staff, letting people pick topics more freely.

Time pressures meant they got some things wrong and didn’t get to dig as deep into some stories as they should. Had trouble getting access, but that changed when they started appearing on television, “then they become eager to meet you.” This was before online advertising was sustainable, so they provided a subscription service that proved fruitful, then were acquired.

Now I have to get up to join the panel, alongside David from BoingBoing and others…

Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.