During the past couple of months I have been developing and running a number of digital strategy workshops for emerging news leaders from across Africa and Asia.
Called Tomorrow’s News, the Thomson Reuters Foundation programme aims to help participants consider their next digital news steps by learning about the latest industry practice and academic research, and by creating a community who can support each other through the challenges ahead.
It’s been an enormous privilege to meet some of the creative and innovative journalists who’ve taken part and I’ve learnt a great deal about challenges they face in developing high quality digital news services.
From news services that tell the stories of India’s disempowered and dispossessed communities, to data journalism services that are finding new ways to report about Indonesia, to digital services using mobile technology to deliver east Africa’s farmers essential information – these are smart, innovative forms of media that will set the pace for the next phase of disruption.
Two final thoughts on all of this.
Firstly, a lot of the problems people are facing in newsrooms (or virtual newsrooms) around the world are similar. Persuading legacy media to embrace digital rather than tolerate it, going digital or social or mobile first, finding the right mix of skills and training. Or for digital native publishers, establishing a revenue model that’s robust enough to support future development.
And finally while we may be on a journey with digital transformation, the journey’s end has to be more than mere survival. There is real social importance in creating sustainable journalistic outlets that deliver high levels of public value through content. And I am confident that’s a goal to which these brilliant and creative journalists are committed.