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Module 6: Ressources numériques et production

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Digital Media Strategy

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Digital Media Strategy

Accuracy and Reliability

Knowing your audience, understanding the issues they face, and being aware of what they think about society, are important factors for fine-tuning what you offer in order to better inform the public debate.

That is why it’s necessary to be thorough in researching who we aim to serve, with our content.

It requires talking to the audience asking their opinions on our output, and then analyzing the results and feeding all the information back into our overall strategy

Research

Research

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The purpose of audience research:

• It helps to produce better content focused on audience needs
It helps to continually improve and remain relevant
It generates new ideas for producing audience-related material
It offers our sales and marketing team the information they need to try to monetise the content we produce.
It highlights new business development opportunities

Audience Surveys

Surveys need to be factored into our overall strategy and plotted on a calendar so that we can make regular comparisons about our performance and how the audience is changing.

Some media organizations have the luxury of being able to afford research teams whose job it is to plan campaigns to monitor the audience response, but for many the research has to be provided by using existing resources.

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Online Survey

You could also set up an online survey using one of the many free online tools.

It doesn’t really matter how you do it, what matters is that you continually assess your performance and measure it against audience appreciation.

The information gained is essential for developing your media strategy and ensuring you are on the right track. It will also help to grow your audience. Ideally, you want your news output to be their preferred source of information, and you want to create a dependency and loyalty that makes the audience members ambassadors of your brand.

Questions

Research is about asking the right open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions can be answered with ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Sometimes such answers are useful.

However open-ended questions, which require the interviewee to expand their answers, are better for survey purposes.
For example, you might ask a closed-ended question such as “Did you like the in-depth news item about the flooding?” The answer will probably be yes or no. However, if you ask “What did you like and what did you dislike about the news item about flooding?”, the answer is probably going to be more helpful.

Surveys

A monthly survey, carried out by reporters with clipboards, will produce a list of stories that have not been covered before, or which have been inadequately covered in the past.
You might want to invite members of a focus group in for coffee and cake, show them items you have published in order to remind them what was broadcast, and then ask them what was missed, what worked, and what could have been done better.

Objectives

For example, the news department might be set the objective to break seven original news stories a week. To achieve that objective, each reporter might be set the objective to break at least one original news story a month.
To help both the journalists and the news department achieve their objectives, the editor might decide to carry out audience surveys to try to find out more about the issues that most concern viewers, and explore ways of investigating those stories.

If that programme is broadcast at a time when the farm workers are in the fields, or already gone to bed, it’s been a waste of effort. Having the right content is fine, but if it is not delivered at the right time it’s not being strategically delivered.

Digital Media Strategy

Media Scheduling and Platform

Ask the audience about scheduling. Perhaps farmers and agricultural workers are an important segment of your target audience.

You might have some great programmes that have been well-researched, are based on earlier feedback, and address the needs of those working on the land.

Platform

You might have some great TV programmes aimed at young adults. It could be that they want news and information on-demand and on the move.

You might conclude that you need a You Tube channel to be able to deliver your content to smartphones so that this important segment of your target audience is able to access the information they need, when they need it and on the devices they are currently using.
All this information is invaluable as you develop your strategy for the evolution of your media business. It’s also valuable for being able to focus resources, identify training needs and spot new business development opportunities.

Digital Media Strategy

Usability

Most broadcasters have websites. Some are sophisticated offerings which add real value to the material broadcast on TV and on radio. Others are fairly basic sites with video and some text often mirroring what was broadcast on air.

Whatever format you have, you must test it with audience focus groups.

One way of doing this is to invite representative from your target audience groups to test the website.

Usability

Try to find someone who is new to the web, someone who is comfortable using websites, and someone who is an expert in the field.

Sit them down in front of your website and ask them to click around, talking out load as they do. If possible record the session, ask for the participants permission first.

You will learn a great deal from this, and the information will help you improve the usability of the site and the quality of the content you produce.

Digital Media Strategy

Retaining Trust

Interaction

Another important function of focus groups is to help journalists to remain true to their pledge to deliver accurate, fair, objective and impartial journalism produced with integrity.

The audience may ask some searching questions about why a certain story was covered, why certain questions were asked, why a particular group was excluded from the report and why only certain people were interviewed.

This is all extremely valuable material if news organizations are to be transparent and accountable.

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Interaction

Media organizations and journalists can’t find that information out if they sit in the newsroom looking at the world through computer screens.

They have to interact and talk to people.

And who better to talk to than representatives of the target audience groups on who they depend for their validity and survival.

Retaining Trust

Vision/Values

A media organization needs to be clear about what it stands for. If your audience is to put its trust in the news you produce, then those who turn to you for reliable information will want to understand your values and how you intend to live up to them.
They will expect you to be transparent about how you operate, and accountable for what you produce.

The vision, values and ethics that should be evident in everything the media organization does, and the pledge that you make to your audience.

Pledge

The “about us”, web page should include the vision, the values/ethics, the media organization promises to uphold, and an invitation to get in touch if they fail.

It might also help to draft a pledge for your audience. For example:

“Our pledge to those we serve is to seek the truth, deliver the facts, and offer relevant context and analysis where appropriate. Our tone will be non-judgemental, objective and fair. In all cases we strive to include all relevant opinions and ensure that no significant strand of thought is neglected.”



Vision/Values
The vision for the media organization needs to be set by the senior management team and approved by the relevant board, or regulators. It will describe how you will operate and why you will be different from others.
Typically, this vision will be set out in the ‘About Us’ page of your website. This is where you set out what you stand for, what you aim to offer to your target audience, how you will offer the material, and how you aim to be accountable by welcoming feedback and audience involvement.

The same page might also include text describing the values and ethics that you promise to uphold in all you do.

Digital Media Strategy

Setting Objectives

Appraisals

Once you have the vision, values and pledge, you need to communicate these carefully and thoroughly through every department of your media business.

This is done partly by setting objectives at the corporate, departmental, unit, and personal level.

Every department will have objectives set for them by senior management. These will be directly related to the vision and pledge.

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Appraisals

Once there is an inter-dependency linking the objectives, all staff, units, departments, and the organization need to be appraised to see whether they are meeting them.
The appraisals are a continuous process with performance measured against agreed goals. They culminate in a meeting between the member of staff and their line manager to check whether they, and, if appropriate, the units or departments they head, are meeting the agreed objectives.

Digital Media Strategy

Setting Objectives

Many organizations use what are called SMART objectives. The SMART elements are:
Specific (clear, detailed, well-defined)
Measurable (quantity, comparison)
Achievable (feasible, actionable)
Realistic (considering resources)
Time-bound (a defined timeline)

Many staff will be eager to have clear and focused personal objectives, set by you, in order to help them contribute fully.

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Time-bound
Objectives need deadlines. Without deadlines, things slip. Deadlines are also important for motivation and urgency. You should ask these questions:

• When will this objective be accomplished?
Is there a stated deadline?
Why is the deadline there?
Is it realistic?

• Realistic
Realistic means ensuring the staff have the resources and support needed to get the job done. However, while it’s important to keep objectives realistic, they must still stretch staff, otherwise they, and your news organization are unlikely to grow and develop. Ask these questions:
Do the resources exist to make this happen?
Will other priorities suffer?
What needs to give, in order to make this happen?
What needs to be achieved?

Achievable
There is no point setting an objective which the member of staff is unable to achieve. Also, if the objective is set too far in the future you might find it difficult to motivate staff. check the following questions:
Can we get it done in the proposed timeframe?
Do I understand the limitations and constraints involved?
Can we do this with the resources we have?
Has anyone else done this successfully?
Is this possible?



Measurable

• It is sometimes said that if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it. Measurements help you know whether you are achieving your objective. Ask these questions:
How will I know that the change has occurred?
Can these measurements be obtained?
Who is doing the calculations?
Are they aware of all the issues involved?

• Specific
The objective is clear, detailed, focused and well-defined. It must emphasize the required outcome. The 5w’s and H questions used every day by journalists will help your staff understand the first of the SMART objectives. These are: What? Why? Who? When? Where? and How?
What am I expected to do?
Why is this important?
Who is going to do what?
Who needs to be involved?
When does this need to be done?
How am I going to do this?

Digital Media Strategy

Market Strategy

Social Network

Social Network

Every news organization must have a core editorial proposition (CEP). It defines what you offer that nobody else offers, or the way you research and present material that is different from what your competitors are offering.

This is your market differential designed to win over the audience groups you are targeting.

It is about what you say that nobody else says. It helps clarify the standards of presentation and subject matter the users can expect you to produce.

Issue-Led Journalism

Carry out an exercise to identify the issues, themes and stories your news organization cover, that address the concerns and interests of your audience and, in turn, help inform the public debate.
This will create your issue-led journalism strategy that will deliver a wealth of original stories, planned in advance to save resources, and which will give you a news lead and a clear market differential.

Social Network Strategy

You also need to define your social network strategy. It's important you do this because your audience may already be ahead of you and you don't want to appear out of touch and irrelevant.

You will need to decide how you use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube for both news gathering and dissemination. Too many media businesses fail to think this through when they should be harnessing social networking for the benefit of both the audience and the media business.