Behold the future of Australian journalism.
Look now and be amazed, for soon the Front Page of the Fish and Chips Wrapper and the Six-O’Clock News – trademark Mazda and available via Google Play – will be filled with stories about how a bloke who owned a 323 hatchback changed his flat tyre, and in the process changed the world.
And won’t it make the world a better place too?
No more of this investigative crap that chokes down entrepreneurial flair, stifles business endeavor, and inhibits economic growth. That sort of sh*t’s old hat, and is the type of turgid typewriter written drivel that denied Hitler the opportunity to make the world a happier and more tolerant type of joint, and necked poor Tricky Dicky Nixon just as he was about to transform all of our lives.
It’s absolute bullsh*t that type of junk journalism, and it’s totally f*cking redundant in the modern age, and don’t just take my word for it because I’m simply a bloke without a name and the eminent journalist T.W. Foundation knows better, and that’s why he’s sent his girl Jumping Jacqui Park over to the US of A to reshape the Fourth Estate into a global conglomerate of PR spin merchants, and God Bless old TW and God Bless America, for world peace and the elimination of child poverty is only a heartbeat away once the story of the changed Mazda tyre is told.
And who better to tell it than Jumping Jac herself, the sheila who I reckon’s copping her full whack of 3 grand a week from her not-for-profit employer, and about 2 grand on top just for fun – and who I will continue to say is until she gives a straight answer to my very simple question and tells me that she’s not – so that she can attain a much-deserved suntan on an LA beach, and transform the Aussie media in the process.
Soon we’ll all have melanoma.
But hey, Mazda’s based in Hiroshima, and John Hersey’s only a consonant away from a chocolate bar, and if you heat up a nut bar it just melts in your mouth and melts your brain, and gee now that your taste buds are alive and your grey matter’s dead it feels just like journalism doesn’t it sportsfans, and so it is, just like Jumping Jac said it will be.
Journalism has unmatched opportunities to thrive. What strategies and structures will ensure that journalism can grasp these opportunities?
I believe the disruption the news industry is experiencing is an opportunity to develop new approaches to producing and sustaining quality journalism. First, though, it’s important to understand the disruption — to learn from others’ mistakes and successes.
Through the Graduate School of Business and the JSK Fellowship program itself, by reading widely and by meeting with journalists, investors and editors, I have identified the ways in which the market is disrupting business models, both in the United States and around the world. This disruption has been driven by the shift in advertising (and attitudes to advertising), the emerging dominance of the large tech platforms and by changing audience behaviors and desires.
These studies also provided an opportunity to identify the way journalism is also acting as a disrupter and to find new ways of working right now in the United States in both not-for-profit and commercial journalism.
Stage Two: New opportunities.
This winter quarter, I am looking at the business models that can work for journalism. What are the earned revenue opportunities? What funding is available to new ventures, and how is this accessed?
Based on an understanding of the economics that are both disrupting old business models and driving the platforms increasingly central to journalism today, I am working at the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) to identify the strategic management challenges and responses for new ventures, including within traditional media, not-for-profits and social ventures.
I am taking a deep dive into the world of design thinking, working on a project at the d.school with Mazda and other organizations to answer the question: How do traditional players develop a culture of innovation and creative confidence?
The combination of the d.school and the GSB gives me an opportunity to apply the principles of human-centered design to ask: What do people actually want from journalism? This in turn leads me ask: What structures will give new media ventures the best chance of success in answering this question — not-for profit, nestled within traditional media or bootstrapped startups? What other issues do such ventures need to consider?
Stage Three: New structures
My next step is this: If we know what we need — and understand what our audiences want — how do I design structures and programs that are sustainable outside the Silicon Valley context. Particularly: How can I take this into the Australian media through my role as CEO of the Walkley Foundation for journalism?
As the winter quarter winds up, I am meeting with local experts to determine how to build the structures that support sustainable startups, particularly the emerging opportunities of startups with a focus on content. And I am learning from early stage startups the role the design thinking process has played in their journey. This involves applying the skills I’m learning in the d.school to work with traditional companies (in this case, Mazda) to work out how we can build a culture of innovation, creativity and human-centered design in traditional media.