Posts Tagged ‘future of media’

Digital Journal among Top 20 most promising startups in Canada, invited to C100 event in Silicon Valley

May 22nd, 2012

So happy to announce this — my company has been hand-picked from hundreds of companies across Canada as one of the 20 most promising startups by the C100, an organization representing accomplished Canadian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Press release below:

Twice a year, the C100 holds an event called 48 Hours in the Valley designed to offer 20 of Canada’s most promising startup companies a chance to visit Silicon Valley for two days of mentorship, workshops, investor meetings, strategic partner visits and networking.

Digital Journal is happy to say it has been recognized along with 19 other Canadian startups as “best-of-the-best of Canadian entrepreneurship” and the company has been invited to Silicon Valley for the exclusive 48 Hours in the Valley event in June that caters to Canada’s best-in-class companies.

“Being named in the Top 20 is a badge of honour for Digital Journal,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, “especially given the fact that media companies never show up on a Top 20 list of technology companies. It really speaks to our unique business advantage in the media space, the power of our platform and our ability to execute.”

The C100 is a non-profit, member-driven organization whose focus is to support Canadian technology entrepreneurship and investment. The organization is made up of a select group of people based primarily in Silicon Valley, including startups CEOs, top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, and venture investors representing more than $8 billion in capital.”

Digital Journal has an exceptional management team who has built a company and product from the ground up, and we are looking forward to playing a big role in the future of media,” said Hogg. “We are also very fortunate to be backed by some of the most talented Digital Journalists in the space and we look forward to moving ahead to the next stage with them and bringing more opportunities to content creators everywhere.”

More information on Digital Journal, the team, its product and the company’s technology, can be found here. Digital Journal also hosts an annual speaker series called Future of Media dedicated to following the evolution of journalism, news and media. Past speakers include executives from Facebook, BBC, Globe and Mail, Global News, CBC, CTV, Rogers, blogTO, Polar Mobile, National Post and more.

Future of Media recap: Start-ups, gamification and ‘pay-what-you-can walls’

April 11th, 2011

Future of Media panel on stage at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. From left to right: David Silverberg, Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

by David Silverberg and Chris Hogg

The future for media organizations is not all doom and gloom, and there is more opportunity and experimentation happening today than ever before. That was the overall discussion at Digital Journal‘s Future of Media panel discussion last night in Toronto.

In a meaty conversation that sunk its teeth deep into topics of start-up culture, gamification and paywalls, editors and experts discussed why we should be optimistic for legacy media and start-ups experimenting with innovative news projects.

Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News, talks with other panelists at a Future of Media event April 6, 2011 in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz ÜberallThe insightful debate included a wide array of media experts: Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News; Jon Taylor, senior director of content for Bell Media Digital; Chris Boutet, senior producer for digital media at the National Post; Mathew Ingram, a senior writer at GigaOM; and Kathy Vey, editor-in-chief of OpenFile. The discussion was moderated by David Silverberg, managing editor of DigitalJournal.com.

The theme of the night could be summed up by Ingram’s poignant one-liner: “When you’re on Death Row, it’s easy to find religion.” He referred to the important wake-up call many newspapers faced with plummeting ad revenue and an upturned business model.

Boutet of the National Post agreed and said his outlet has adopted a digital-first strategy to allow readers to easily consume online news, while making sure the print product still had strong long-form content. “It needs to start with digital and end in print,” he said.

The conversation often veered into the benefits and dangers of using on-the-ground reporting from citizens in global hot spots. Angus said the BBC had previously ignored social media but now the organization is increasingly incorporating tweets into its reportage. “That could never happen two or three years ago,” he admitted.

Ingram replied, “When Twitter came out, I don’t think anyone would have predicted newspapers would have entire staff devoted to their Twitter account.”

OpenFile editor Kathy Vey laughs as journalist Mathew Ingram tweets from the stage at a Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Vey, who runs the collaborative news start-up OpenFile, said she’s optimistic about journalism’s future, considering how many important news start-ups have made an impact in the U.S. She just wishes Canada could better nurture start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The conversation around start-ups took up a better part of the night, with each panelist discussing how a news organization could benefit by having an entrepreneurial approach to media production. Panelists agreed the lean approach without expensive overhead and the willingness to try new things is an important part of determining media’s future.

That said, Boutet, Vey and Ingram agreed entrepreneurial skills are not something journalism students learn in school, and students don’t enter j-school with the goal of graduating, starting their own company and trying to compete with a big newspaper.

Digital Journal Managing Editor, David Silverberg, moderating the panel discussion at a Future of Media event in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Boutet said newsrooms need to create an environment where experimentation is encouraged, and an entrepreneurial mindset helps. He noted how the National Post has designers, programmers, digital media producers and journalists within the same area to facilitate collaboration.

Ingram agreed, saying a news experiment today can happen in an afternoon with $1,500 and a programmer who fires out some code. But that often doesn’t happen because the small numbers and quick turn-around time are not how media executives typically think. “They think in terms of months, not days,” Ingram said.

Some mainstream media outlets are stepping up their online news initiatives and experiments. At the National Post, for instance, the newspaper partnered with GeoPollster to allow people to check-in to venues with Foursquare with their political party affiliation, so a certain restaurant can be Conservative if enough Conservatives check-in to that spot en masse. “We wanted it to be fun,” Boutet said, and many panelists agreed entertaining media projects and “gamification” could benefit news outlets.

Taylor, from the newly minted Bell Media, said the growth of mobile and tablet platforms have also dramatically shifted focus and opened up many new opportunities for media outlets, especially broadcasters. “My job has 100 per cent changed because of those platforms,” he said. “We’re learning with everybody else. It’s constantly evolving.” Taylor said he’s hopeful the rules of the TV game will evolve into a more futuristic model, where it’s not just watching TV on your tablet PC, say, but also being able to swipe something from your tablet onto your TV somehow.

He also spoke about new revenue possibilities for broadcasters, saying there’s “no magic bullet” but that old ideas are becoming new again. “I think the answer is going to be a multitude of things, which include digital sponsorship, we have sponsors we have advertisers,” he said. “In the TV world you can only get so innovative, in the digital space it’s nearly unlimited.”

Taylor said the “This show is brought to you by…” line is something we’ll likely hear more often, but that media organizations have to be careful how they balance sponsorship and production. He said sponsors need to be happy with the presence, but broadcasters have to make sure content is not overly swamped with advertising messages.

From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor and Chris Boutet. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Angus agreed that mobile is an integral part of the future of media, noting that rapid adoption of mobile phones in some places such as Africa have replaced more traditional platforms such as radio. Angus said the BBC, and media organizations that reach massive audiences in very rural places, have new challenges because they must think about the medium or platform through which the message is being delivered. In some areas, media is consumed through more than just a newspaper or Internet connection. Angus said organizations who want to reach wide audiences now have to think about how much the end-user will have to pay to consume content via mobile versus other platforms when they decide where to invest and how they want to target new audiences.

On the topic of cost, the panel  discussed paywalls and how they fit in the media’s future. The BBC’s Angus and Ingram were at odds on this issue. Angus suggested the paywall experiment by the Times of London and New York Times could be the harbinger of things to come. ”What if they’re right, doesn’t that change things?” he asked. Ingram shook his head and said “But the Times of London lost a lot of pageviews…and now they’re just an expensive newsletter.”

From left to right: Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey and Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

After some debate among panelists, Angus went back to the idea and admitted that while it may not be popular among readers it may be necessary for media outlets. He said if it becomes the norm, it may give media organizations enough of a revenue stream to encourage them to invest in the digital media space.

Boutet didn”t like the idea of a paywall because it’s an ultimatum that does not allow the reader to suggest how much they think content is worth. Telling a reader to pay $10 per month or go away, Boutet believes, is the wrong approach because it’s an all-or-nothing attitude. “What about a pay-what-you-can wall?” he suggested, saying some readers may not want to pay $10 per month but would be willing to pay $5. Having the option to let people price a product themselves provides a news organization with the opportunity to market-test various pricing options and determines what people will pay.

The panelists generally agreed a paywall or pay fence would work with specialty content, such as Wall Street Journal‘s financial news or ESPN.com‘s in-depth sports coverage. Ingram was unsure what metric would be used to measure success, though. “Does it look like 200,000 people paying to read your content, or does it look like millions?”

So what’s in store for the future of media? The panelists all seemed to agree experimentation is important and that the news industry as a whole is in better shape today than it has been over the last few years. That said, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered as far as concrete business models that will take shape.

Panelists present door prizes to attendees of the Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram and David Silverberg. - Photo by Janusz Überall

New technologies such as augmented reality provide some really interesting opportunities to media companies, and mobile phones, apps and tablets are a game-changer for how, when and where people consume content.

The overall tone of the night was optimistic, with panelists agreeing wholeheartedly the future looks much brighter than the past. Media organizations now need to focus on experimentation, and partnering with start-ups is a cost-effective way to innovate new ideas.

The panel also agreed newsrooms need to shed old attitudes and get people to talk to their audience in a two-way conversation via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, while at the same time remember that every word they say is essentially speaking on behalf of their respective media outlets. What you say, when you say it, and how you say it, are guidelines that media organizations need to quickly decide.

Video from the Future of Media event will be available shortly. Check back next week to see full coverage.

 

Future of Media Preview: A Q&A with Jon Taylor, Bell Media Digital

April 6th, 2011

Jon Taylor, Senior Director of Content for Bell Media Digital, is speaking at Digital Journal's Future of Media event April 6 in Toronto

Media leaders from the UK and Canada will meet tonight to discuss rapid and significant changes in media at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event in Toronto. Bell Media Digital’s Jon Taylor will weigh-in on intersection of broadcasting and digital media.

Jon Taylor is Senior Director of Content for Bell Media Digital. He is responsible for the acquisition, creation and measurement of Bell Media Digital’s online content.

Jon most recently worked as an Executive Producer in the Programming and Production departments at CTV and continues to work closely with those groups.

His work creating web-exclusive complementary content for Bell Media’s digital platforms includes So You Think You Can Dance CanadaThe Juno AwardsWe Day and The Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Tonight, Jon takes the stage at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event along with the speakers from the National Post, BBC World News, GigaOM and OpenFile. In a Q&A with Digital Journal ahead of the event, Taylor touches on what’s in store for broadcasters and where digital media fits in the TV business.

Digital Journal: As someone who manages the content side of a media business, how has your job changed over the last year and where is it going?

Jon Taylor: As the business model evolves, the focus has turned to user engagement and user experience and how people consume content online and on mobile platforms.

There is much more focus on companion content and unique online executions. Bell Media has had some good success with unique online programming like WE DAY, largest youth empowerment event, and programming several original series last summer. We’re going to see more of this in the future.

In a way, everything has changed because the delivery method changes quickly, but nothing has changed insofar as content is still king, regardless of platform.

As for where it’s going, I’ve noticed a definite shift in business function within a large organization. Whereas new media was often a peripheral business unit, there is a more definite seat at the table for everything from programming and production to sales and marketing.

Digital Journal: Where is programming heading? Outside of news, what kind of content should a modern media business focus on/produce/deliver?

Jon Taylor: Strategy is challenging since it needs to be two-fold.

First, it needs to make money, and second it needs to be somehow innovative. There is no right answer for this one. Nobody has the brass ring for content production and delivery.

Innovation is expensive and can be risky. However, what we are focusing on is strong content, year-long strategy and, currently, integrating and exploiting the strength of Sympatico and the Bell Media (former CTV) properties.

Digital Journal: We’ve seen significant changes in journalism with the rise of digital media and the Web. How is television being affected by these changes? Where is it heading?

Jon Taylor: The revolution might not be televised, but you can bet it will be online.

By aggregating or curating first-hand accounts from social media, blogs and other sources that have access to a wealth of bleeding edge information, news becomes part of the revolution.

More leaders are going to emerge in this space, and I think Canada is poised to be a leader in how digital is leveraged for journalism. Our proven objectivity — not quite British, not quite American — puts us in a unique position.

Digital Journal: What affect have start-ups had on media businesses? How do they play a role in media’s future?

Jon Taylor: From an online video standpoint, Netflix and other over-the-top services are going to be an obvious concern. But in general, the proliferation of services and add-ons is endless.

We’ll continue to see the rising-up of the most-needed or wanted services. How they’ll continue to change media will be part of the greater evolution of how we all do business.

In this case, I’m not sure that being a fast adopter of these kinds of services really benefits the business. For example, is the company that first integrated Facebook into their site right now better off than those companies who went down that road a little later?

Digital Journal: What do you think makes a good “digital-first” strategy for a media company, and should modern media businesses approach with a digital-first mindset?

Jon Taylor: The right strategy is to make sure that the right platform or platforms are taking the lead. I keep going back to it, but there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy in the digital or multi-platform world.

Digital should be first when it makes the most sense, and when compared to the still-formidable power of broadcast television, isn’t going to be the case 100 percent of the time.

More and more, we’re seeing the prominence of digital as it stands on its own or as a companion piece to television and radio.

The modern media approach should be to marry the right content with the right platform and match it to an audience.

Digital Journal: What revenue channels beyond advertising do you think we’ll see become more prevalent in the digital media space?

Jon Taylor: Subscription models will be more dominant, but I don’t believe we’ve see the end of what advertising online is or does. There is still a huge frontier of advertising opportunities in the digital space and there will be more creative integrations with content.

Digital Journal: How will rapid and significant changes in digital media over the last few years affect the average person at home in the years to come?

For sure people who haven’t already will come to expect all media to be available on all platforms. The idea of having what you want when you want will be a given.

It’s easy for us, as fast adopters, to think that we’re there now, or that the omnipresent expectation already exists, but we’re only at the tip of the iceberg.

My kids, who are four- and six-years old, have no idea what linear TV is. They only know on-demand and they rarely see an advertisement. How advertisers reach viewers is what is really going to change and evolve. Content will inevitably be where you want to be in the future.

Future of Media Preview: A Q&A with Jamie Angus, head of BBC World News

April 5th, 2011

Jamie Angus, Acting Head of News at BBC World News, is speaking at Digital Journal's Future of Media event April 6 in Toronto.

The acting head of news at BBC World News explains how one of the most well-known journalism brands is adapting to the digital era. Jamie Angus will discuss his ideas in person at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event on April 6 in Toronto.

When you think of global news, BBC News is likely a company that comes to mind. Known for dispatching reporters in political hot zones, BBC has expanded its coverage in light of journalism’s changing face in the last few years.

Jamie Angus has seen this transition up close. The acting head of news at BBC World News, he runs the busy newsroom day-to-day.

Angus has also worked as editor of Daytime News Programmes at BBC World Service and was editor of The World at One, BBC Radio 4′s lunchtime news show. Prior to that, he was Editor of Daytime News Programmes at BBC World Service (English), where the output included the flagship Newshour programme, which is widely re-broadcast by partners in North America.

He has been responsible for news programming on TV, radio and online, and yes, he has time to sleep.

Angus spoke to Digital Journal prior to visiting Toronto this week for his appearance at the April 6 Future of Media event, where he’ll join other news leaders and executives to discuss the challenges media outlets face today and how best to adapt to the digital age.

Digital Journal: How has reporting world news changed in the growing world of digital media? Where is it heading?

Jamie Angus: I think the linear style of news that audiences were used to a generation ago has been changed forever by digital media.

If you look at a developing story like the Arab Uprising from this year, you see clearly that public discussion of the story and the issues surrounding it, in social media and elsewhere, is part of the story itself. It poses a challenge to traditional media organizations to sort the important information from the unenlightening ? probably the same values journalists have practiced for many generations. But we have to maintain a balance between real events on the ground, and digital activity surrounding them.

A media organization that is truly in touch with its audiences allows them the space to discuss current events in a way that plays into the content of their own coverage ? and we can see from the Arab Spring that media organizations who really own this idea benefit enormously.

Digital Journal: We’ve seen significant changes in digital media and news production for the Web. What does the future of media look like in the digital/online space? Where are current changes going to take us?

Jamie Angus: I’ve been really struck by the success of “live page” coverage of news. There is a real appetite amongst audiences to see stories unfolding in real time, in text audio and pictures, and to have the chance to interact with that.

The technology to drive these, and social media’s ability to allow audiences to discuss events in real time, is still in its infancy.

Digital Journal: How do rapid changes in media affect a public broadcaster?

Jamie Angus: The values that public broadcasters generally embody ? reputation, balance, editorial integrity ? also make them vulnerable to fast-moving technological change. They tend to act slowly, and their innate caution means there are always newer operations who can make more noise on any given platform.

I also worry about the decisions to commit public money to supporting specific platforms and how those are taken. Some social media would envy the support given by the BBC to more established social media.

Digital Journal: What medium do you think is likely to change the most in the next year or two?

Jamie Angus: I’m fascinated by the changes that IP TV, streaming video, and on-demand, direct-to-home TV sets will make to all output, especially news. I don’t begin to understand the details of this, but I wonder whether a huge change in distribution is around the corner. That could have a huge effect on the industry.

At home in the UK, we’ve seen how the cost of maintaining “old” distribution has been a huge problem for World Service Radio in the last decade, and I wonder how that will play out for TV.

Digital Journal: How can mainstream journalists reach out to the start-up world to make their jobs easier and to make their reporting better?

Jamie Angus: I think public broadcasters gravitate quickly to established technologies and media. I don’t see a lot of journalists experimenting beyond those.

I wonder what the implications are for news-gathering, with the explosive growth in location-based social media. Or tools like AudioBoo, for example.

So far, I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of that.

Digital Journal: What start-ups do you think are making a big difference or impact in the world of media? How so?

Jamie Angus: As previously mentioned, I’m a big user of AudioBoo, and I would like to see more people using it in news. It offers a real way of expanding radio production, for example.

I would anticipate more use of social media and mapping technology in combination, and I think they are well placed to exploit that.

Digital Journal: What do you think makes a good “digital-first” strategy for a media company, and should modern media businesses approach with a digital-first mindset?

Jamie Angus: It depends what your market is, and on the media side what your distribution model is.

The big question is whether digital-led ways of consuming media will really be retained for life, or whether as people age and their lives change, they become more receptive to traditional ways of consuming the news.

There’s evidence on both sides, but I think the great variety of user experience that digital offers is changing how journalism is delivered for good, and it will always be necessary to have a digital dimension to launching new products.

Digital Journal: How will rapid and significant changes in digital media over the last few years affect the average person at home in the years to come?

Jamie Angus: Platform convergence seems like the big issue to me. It looks more and more as if the number of devices you use will fall and fall, probably to around a handful in any household.

As radio, TV, and online come ever closer together, the key driver of audiences will be strong content. If you have it, audiences will find you, but less and less in the traditional way.

I also think that households with children and young adults in them are driving digital uptake incredibly quickly. I am struck by how much parents talk about their childrens’ ways of consuming news and entertainment, and that feels like a tipping point to me. It’s a world in which the younger generation are driving what older generations do more than ever before.

Just look at what’s happened to newspapers; if you wanted to pop out and buy a paper today, your choice would be considerably less than it once was, probably because of what people younger than you are doing. Yet free sheet consumption is massive, and at the same time it’s moving young people back to a model of actually reading real papers. How is that all going to play out? And how can media companies figure it out before anyone else does?

Future of Media Preview: A Q&A with the National Post’s Chris Boutet

April 4th, 2011

Chris Boutet is senior producer for digital media at the National Post.

Chris Boutet, senior producer for digital media at the National Post, discusses the changing media landscape and working with a “digital-first” strategy. Boutet will be speaking about journalism at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event on April 6.

Chris Boutet is senior producer for digital media at the National Post.

Originally from Edmonton, Boutet moved to Toronto where he was the night news editor at Dose magazine. In 2006, Boutet joined the National Post as a part-time sports copy editor after his hockey blog caught the attention of sports staff during the Edmonton Oilers’ Stanley Cup run.

When the National Post relaunched its website in 2007, Boutet joined the new online team as a blogger and homepage editor. He was named the Senior Editor of product and engagement in 2009 and became Senior Producer in 2010.

Boutet and his team have worked to change the way the National Post thinks about its digital presence by introducing innovative reporting and content delivery strategies that have shifted the focus toward serving the needs and interests of an online readership. He has led the charge in integrating the use of social media and real-time reporting techniques into the daily workflow of the newsroom.

Leading the National Post’s social media strategy, Chris’s team has cultivated thriving networks on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr that have helped the National Post reach vast new communities of readers. He has helped to establish a collaborative newsroom environment that encourages innovation, whether it’s creating new ways to engage with casual readers or turn a static online graphic into a runaway viral hit.

In a Q&A with Digital Journal, Boutet discussing the skills a modern-day journalist needs to have and what it’s like working with a publication with a digital-first mandate.

Digital Journal: To make it as a journalist today, what core skills do you need? What core skills will you need in the years ahead?

Chris Boutet: I’ve always felt the most important character trait for a successful journalist to have is fearlessness. Whether you’re walking up to the front door of the family of a murder victim to try get a quote, or walking up to your editor to sell your big story idea, it’s a job that requires remarkable courage and confidence.

Beyond that, though, it’s also vital to have a strong sense of curiosity, adaptability and a willingness to experiment. With so many new storytelling tools and platforms emerging every day, journalists need to be constantly evaluating how effectively we are using these tools to tell better stories and connect with our readers.

There’s so much discovery and evaluation happening right now in online media. We can’t be afraid to fail if we’re going to find new ways to succeed.

Digital Journal: You work for a company that says it wants to take a digital-first strategy. How does that play out in your day-to-day and what does that look like?

Chris Boutet: The “digital first’ mandate was a wake-up call to newsrooms that we needed to change the way we think about how our print and online properties work together.

In most newsrooms, the workflow has traditionally been built around the print product, with web, mobile and social media presences thought of as separate from, or supplementary to, that core.

At the National Post, this mandate helped to further shift our reporting and editing resources to towards creating a dynamic and robust online product first, then using those same resources to build out a print product that was both complementary and distinct.

Digital Journal: How has your printed newspaper been affected by digital media and what will it look like in years to come?

Chris Boutet: In print, the National Post is as great a read as it’s ever been. It’s a boldly designed paper with an insightful, cleverness and irreverent wit that makes it unlike any other newspaper in Canada.

If our increased focus on digital has changed print at all, it’s perhaps freed the newspaper up to focus less on the “breaking” and day-to-day news that online does better and more on analysis, features and commentary to create a more thoughtful, “long read” experience.

To me, the long read is one of print’s greatest strengths. The tactility and slower pace of consumption make the time spent feel luxurious and almost decadent, especially after a long week of chasing an endless stream of news developments online.

I think in the years to come we’ll see more news organizations start to cultivate an image of their print product as a luxury, boutique item that should be pored over and savoured.

Digital Journal: What kinds of editorial experiments have you tried in order to create audience? How do you measure success?

Chris Boutet: At the National Post, we are constantly exploring and evaluating new and better ways to reach our audience and improve their reading experience.

In the last two years especially, social media experimentation and expansion has been a major focus for our news organization. Gone are the days where you could create a great website and expect people to come to you.

Today, our online readership wants us to come to them, to be engaged and active in the same networks they use every day.

The National Post‘s reporters and editors use Twitter to deliver breaking news and create new contextual content streams that make the news easier to follow, understand and share. Our Facebook fan page has evolved into an online hub for lively debate, especially around our political coverage and commentary.

In the last year, we’ve also found unique new ways to deliver our content on Tumblr and Foursquare.

With social media, there are myriad ways to measure success. Follower counts and referral traffic back to the site are decent core metrics, but a good social presence goes beyond that. We keep a close eye on what content is being shared, how it is spreading and what people are saying about us.

Digital Journal: What should digital media outlets be doing that they’re not doing now?

Chris Boutet: Some of the best online news organizations are where they are today because they embraced a more agile, startup-like approach to their product development.

Experimentation and innovation is key as the industry forays deeper into the digital space and we learn better ways to reach and serve our readers. Top-down, boardroom-style direction can’t react quickly enough to the ever-changing landscape. Building a product system around small, independent teams of reporters, editors, designers and developers is an excellent way to encourage creative thinking and speed up the implementation/evaluation cycle.

Also, bring more developers into your newsroom. You really can’t have too many.

Digital Journal: What revenue channels beyond advertising do you think we’ll see become more prevalent in the digital media space?

Chris Boutet: It’s an interesting question. Online readership numbers are now outpacing print, and the pressure is on to build a stable revenue model around digital.

But a major reason that news organizations were able to build that online reader base in the first place was by making our content easy to find and free to read. So how do we make money without shutting out our readership and losing that scale and reach?

The key is not just to create something that has value to your readership, but also to have your audience agree with you on what that value is to them in real dollars.

I think we’ll be seeing a lot of experimentation with costing on mobile app products and paywall/content metering models.

The industry needs to get away from trying to tell our readership what they should be paying, and instead let them tell us what they will pay. Rather than throwing up another paywall, why not try a “pay-what-you-can wall” and see what the value of your product really is to your readers?

Digital Journal: Outside of Facebook and Twitter, what start-ups do you think are making a big difference or impact in the world of media? How so?

Chris Boutet: So many to mention, but a few of my favourites at the moment:

Toronto’s own ScribbleLive: Their real-time CMS is a powerful reporting and crowdsourcing tool that is getting better every day. They take user feedback very seriously and are always thinking about how to improve the product.

Foursquare as well has opened a lot of doors for the National Post and other forward-looking media organizations who are interested in exploring the value of geo-located news delivery.

Tumblr has been around for a while, but it’s just now building out the organizational framework that is making it a more meaningful and effective broadcast tool.

The National Post is also intrigued by Instagram as a content platform. NPR is doing some interesting work in that space and we’re seeing others like NBC and CNN get into the game as well.

I’ll also mention WordPress, as the National Post has been using it to power our blog network for almost a year now and it’s done so much to improve the agility and visibility of our online news product.