Thanks to John Utanga and the Pacific Islands Media Association for inviting me to participate in a panel discussion at their conference in Auckland today. It’s always great to see journalists looking to spread their work and interact with their readers online.
Here are key points from the panel members in the order in which they spoke:
Neil Sanderson (editor, nzherald.co.nz)
- There are about 50 staff working in the New Zealand Herald’s online operation, but a small (and more narrowly focused) news website could be run with a single part-timer. At many of our company’s smaller newspapers a newspaper sub-editor also updates the website.
- It isn’t necessary to spend huge amounts of money to get online. A very simple site could be built on free blogging software (such as WordPress) for example.
- Content can be supplemented with free news headline services such as nzherald’s RSS feeds.
- If you already have a traditional media channel (e.g. newspaper, magazine or radio station) try to find ways for it and your website to complement and promote each other.
- Engage with “the people formerly known as the audience” any way you can [and read Jay Rosen for more on this subject].
- Once you become a real-time online publisher, your customers will start to expect you to continuously update your site around the clock (with a vast army of online journalists to rival the BBC). Get used to the criticism and look for ways to get maximum benefit from the resources you have at your disposal. What valuable services can you provide that are available nowhere else?