Media Moves

Biz journalism facing new times, needs new approach

March 16, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

By Jeanna Smialek

Beth Hunt, director of editorial operations for American City Business Journals, said journalism isn’t facing hard times as a field – it’s facing new times, and they call for a fresh approach to the industry.

Hunt, whose company specializes in weekly business newspapers and websites, spoke as part of a panel on managing newsroom change at Friday’s Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference. Because modern consumers can easily access highly personalized information, she said previously broad-coverage media organizations must now target their audiences to succeed.

“For a long time, to be all things to all people was the right model,” she said, saying that has changed in recent years. “You get the info that you want form the source that you want it.”

Fellow panelist Ted Evanoff, business reporter for The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, said news outlets must also re-examine how they bring in revenue.

“There needs to be a new model for how we run our advertising component,” he said.

Dennis Ryerson, editor of the Indianapolis Star and panel moderator, said that he believes the news industry will survive – but agreed with his fellow panelists that it should to reassess its approach advertising and content.

“Our industry has never taken a risk,” he said. “We have not been very entrepreneurial. I think that we need to be more entrepreneurial – more like the businesses that you all are writing about.”

Julie Tatge, business editor at the Chicago Tribune, and Dave Kansas, chief operating officer of American Public Media, also spoke on the panel.

Smialek is a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill attending the SABEW conference.

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