YDR Insider

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Can Pepsi teach media choices for the new generation?

During the Snowpocalypse in February 2010, the York Daily Record/Sunday News did not follow its customary digital first strategy. In fact, it was digital only. With no power at its company offices, the York Daily Record/Sunday News newsroom staff gathered news and fed its various digital sites from a Holiday Inn conference room in West Manchester Township. Journalists moved back to their Loucks Road newsroom at roughly 8 p.m. to concentrate on its newspaper. They made the YDR’s 12:35 a.m. print deadline.


Rick Edmonds, a veteran media watcher, blogs regularly on the Poynter Institute’s website.

The other day, he wrote provocatively about the transition in news organizations from print to digital. A question is whether news organizations are shifting resources too quickly from the newspaper, which pulls in most of the revenue, to digital, a much smaller piece of the revenue prize. See: Healthy snacks, ‘digital first’ and the speed of the news industry’s transformation.

The example of Pepsi entered the discussion. Pepsi has pulled back from the healthy/organic food market and again has concentrated on the core:  Its soft drink and snack food lines – Pepsi and Doritos.

Will news organizations do the same?

From a news perspective, we see the print/digital transition as a both/and rather than an either/or – a line rather than two segments.

So, I commented on Rick’s piece, as follows:

“I always enjoy reading your insightful pieces and appreciate your points here.

“As a MediaNews Group newsroom, we rewrote our workflows to digital first many months ago. Part of the modeling in those days came from the blog content put out by Digital First Media.

“It was a major change, a process that is ongoing – but deploying such strategies did not mean that we diminished our newspaper.

“Digital first does not mean print last, or that print is unimportant. It means
print has its place in a continuous newsgathering cycle.

“Your newsroom just gets better because you’ve introduced an element of immediacy that makes everyone sharper and operating on a fine edge.

“You simply publish first digitally and then take that good content and put it
into print.

“Interesting, with this re-orientation, we won Newspaper of
the Year in Pennsylvania
in 2011, which includes mostly print and some digital

“Six months ago, we came under Digital First Media’s umbrella. Working with the DFM folks, we’ve found that they’ve given us a vocabulary to more effectively converse and think in a digital first world.

“They’ve made us aware of wonderful digital tools and, most importantly, noticed
our advancements and encouraged us onward.

“Thus, we’ve accelerated in putting new digital first
workflows into place, especially on the social media (Facebook, Twitter) and hyperlocal (community news) side. Check out some of these workflows here: Foundational documents.

“I’m addressing the newsroom here, but thought this is an important story to put up as part of this discussion.”

If you have comments on all this, feel free to let us know below.