The process of transformation of the journalistic sector in the last years is changing all the established rules until now. The social networks, the reduction of the credibility of the great public in means, the loss of protagonism of the format paper and the new digital narratives mark the pulse of the media already entered the 21st century. Many mass media continue becoming questions and looking for solutions for a problem that still do not know absolutely where it is. The process of digitalization of New York Times, one of the heads of reference to world-wide level, leaves some very valuable lessons, universal and practically applicable to any other means.
This prescription has been picked up by Ismael Nafra in its book the yield of the business of The New York Times Company (1996-2016). The first part of the same, that gathers regarding the digitalization of New York Times, is everything a nail burning so that those means which they have still not been added to the digital revolution begin to consider the key points. Ten learned lessons of the process of learning with average test and error of one of the most prestigious ones of the world that now are used as guide for the others.
The first, and main one, seems evident. But it is not it. To bet of form decided by a quality journalism and to offer an essential product to the readers. Many means have been given to the viral news, to contents prone to share and to generate a greater number of click with which to obtain more income, as survival method. The NYT wants those clicks and wants those income, but it wants them from the quality.
The digitalization of New York Times happens to become an essential product for its readers. For it, a writing with more than 1,300 journalists in whom the quality to the amount prevails, in which the reliability is a norm and that generates unique contents and differentials for the users.
The digitalization of New York Times as paradigm
Another conclusion, secondly, is the change in the business model. Traditionally, the mass media were maintained economically thanks to the advertisers, but that tendency has been reversed. That in the heat of happened process of digitalization of New York Times: in 2012, for the first time in their history, the accounts of the newspaper reflected more originating income of the users who of the advertisers.
The last accounts that the NYT closed, those of 2016, showed that tendency that it changed in 2012 has maintained in the time: 37% of the income hardly came from the publicity. In February of 2017, the North American newspaper reached another significant landmark: three million subscribers between the digital edition and the printed one. The lesson is clear: the product must sufficiently be good as obtaining that the user pays by him, since with the income by publicity he is not enough to survive.
The third conclusion that gathers Ismael Nafra in its book is the convenience of locating the center in the users, but especially in most faithful. All the readers are valuable, reason why he is vital to know as well as possible the users and to take advantage of prestige the brand means, or the NYT or any other, to send new routes of business that generate income extra.
To know the users allows more that the means have more possibilities of betting by products that are going to be of their affability, which supposes a double benefit: the reader receives something that pleases to him and the mass media increase its income and enjoy greater independence and yield.
The philosophy after the digitalization of New York Times
The evolution in the two last decades of the NYT has not been necessarily a natural process. Thus the fourth conclusion reflects it that is extracted of its process of adaptation to the digital revolution: first of all, it is necessary to have a mission and very a well defined proposal of value. That means, actually, to have a common goal that agglutinates all the workers of the company, some values in which can turns reflected so much readers as it soles and a concrete way through which to secure the proposed aims.
That way to cross is the one that is reflected in the fifth lesson that leaves this evolutionary process: equipment adapted to the digital and movable era. The means must adapt their equipment and train their employees in work techniques that can cover the new needs with the market. In addition, with a disadvantage: average as the NYT, and other many, they were born in another time and they must row crosscurrent, whereas many average ones already have been created in this competitive digital surroundings.
Or through the renovation of the personnel or the internal formation, Times has been introduced progressively in the digital wheel. In addition, integrating that second way in its philosophy as an obligation: the formation of the workers in the new abilities to cover nonexistent needs years back considers obligatory part in its plans of update.
As an appendix of that lesson arises sixth: the present and the future is in the mobiles. The mobile phones now reunite in a same device functions for which it does not do too many years we needed a ten equipment. It is the device more used to inquire on the part of the users, reason why not to adapt to him is a risk that means cannot be allowed. All the information, products and services of Times are oriented to totally be able to be enjoyed a mobile phone, but not only that: also specific products are created to be consumed in smartphones.
Changes in the product
In addition to the business model, the income or the way to obtain them, also the good more appraised by a newspaper, the information, becomes. Thus the seventh conclusion of the process of digitalization of New York Times reflects it extracted by Ismael Nafra. The media lies down towards a model carried out by visual products: interactive videos, graphs, maps or can be as important as a good text, and must be complemented to each other to create a more attractive and informatively complete global product.
Each history can be counted of different ways and to adapt better to a concrete format. The writing tables must decide with what resources to count for each information, and the means will have professionals specialized in each field to be able to respond with solution and quality before the new challenges.
But before undertaking the challenge, it is necessary to have a thing in mind: the way of the digital transformation is long and complex. That is the eighth lesson that leaves the digitalization of the New York Times, that serves as practical example for other means, that in addition they cannot avoid another series of facts. The transformation is inevitable. It never finishes, because it is an uninterrupted process of evolution. In order to send itself to it with guarantees only there is a way: to fix some objectives so defined as ambitious and to imply all the professionals of the house.
The paper of the paper in the digitalization of New York Times
A very clear lesson that it has left the evolutionary way undertaken by mass media in the last years is the one that the book gathers in ninth place: it is necessary to rethink the format paper. It has been clear that the printed newspaper cannot enter the battle of the present time and the immediacy against Internet and the social networks, because will never leave winner. In order to avoid to fill the kiosks of the been out of phase news and heads that do not contribute to a value differential in the journalistic panorama, it agrees to fix some unsalvable points. The model no longer is valid, reason why to continue mixing digital and paper cannot arrive at good port.
For it, the means (as already it made the NYT) must create a specific equipment to exclusively create the printed edition, which will release resources for the digital section. In addition, by all means, to reframe the product on the part of the direction. The constants and massive dismissals in heads printed of the last years, that still seem not even near to be finished, therefore make it clear.
And, after all these conclusions, the end arrives. In tenth and last place it locates the author of the book the importance of the interdepartmental collaborative work. To be competitive, means must break internal barriers that separate sections and equipment. An active participation of very many-colored profiles in all the phases of the informative process is required, from the idea to the writing, the design or the model-making, so propitious physical surroundings are necessary, with open spaces that foment the collaborative work.
If some means can be allowed to be elevated in light to guide the digital transformation of the rest, that is New York Times. Now only it lacks that the others follow the noticeable way.