Steve Buttry was the Editor of the Gazette, an Iowa newspaper owned by the Gazette Company.
In an extremely familiar story, the Gazette was forced to “restructure.” No one is surprised to see a newspaper struggling. No one is surprised to see layoffs.
But, there just may be a surprise here.
The Gazette management is attempting to take an innovative approach to how they define themselves and their content.
…I will lead an organization that will seek new ways to develop content that is richer, deeper and more meaningful than is allowed by the limitations of our products… other colleagues will work to continue serving our community with excellent products using content from my organization and others. [Emphasis Added]
It’s a common story that we approach new delivery mechanisms with the habits we learned from the existing ones. The first compact discs we created were content “dumps.” When we first put journals online, they looked like printed journals that were simply available on the Internet.
As time goes on, we figure out how to capitalize on the richness of new delivery methods. We experiment, and we observe new market entrants that are not subject to our legacy constraints.
The separation of content from product is a very powerful concept.
Another point worth noting is his reference to the inclusion of content created by other organizations. Too often content providers believe they serve their community best by creating all of the content their audience consumes.
That may have worked in a scarcity model, but it’s nearly impossible in today’s world of abundance and accessibility.
It will be interesting to watch the Gazette and see if this approach makes them more viable.
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