By: Leo Hidalgo - CC BY-NC 2.0

Before the Internet we know today

Being loyal to a single curated source of information that can be a print newspaper or a single news website is a disappearing behaviour. Reading print-newspaper from the editorial column to the sports page right through to the politic and international relations sections seems almost undoable today as our mind is so distracted by so many other sources of information.

Now in the Internet we use everyday

“I started my work at the NYTimes in 1985. At that time, I was starting my workday around 10/11am, I was working a little bit, then I will have my lunch. I will come back to the office, I will type some lines, make a few phone calls and will leave the office at 6pm, my day was over.Today: I wake up at 6, work all day long until 1am. 30 years ago, no one could have expected what was ahead of us, in terms of news production and consumption. Can you imagine the media landscape 30 years from now?!”

– Richard Stevenson, NYTimes Europe Editor

The majority of people read the news in a fragmented way by getting information from multiple sources throughout the entire day. In the morning, it’s all about the phone and breakfast. At the office, the news-feed is a constant flow on the computer-screen. In the evening, tablets are perfect for reading on the couch after a long day at work. When we want to get news from our Facebook friends, we realize that our (ex) favourite social network became our major source of headlines sitting just next to the Twitter permanent news-flow fed by publishing companies to attract visitors and “potential” readers.

What’s next for readers?

Through Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Flipboard or even Digg, we have the possibility to read a “long-read” article of the New-York Times, jumping to a movie-review from IDMB, watching a video-digest of the soccer game that we missed last night from ESPN, learning an interesting fact about the International Space Station on the MIT technology review, etc.
Media companies will provide more and more a diversified content: written articles are already supported by pictures and infographics. Tomorrow, the video will take a larger part of the content provided as well as interactive maps, the all-thing interconnected with social medias.

What’s next for publishing companies?

It is easier than ever to follow, track and analyse website visitors’ behaviours and actions throughout their news consumption. We now have the possibility to analyze the performance of an editorial activity not only day by day for the whole website but article by article. This is the key for publishing companies to understand their visitors behaviours and tailor them towards a strategy that will turn them into regular readers.

This changing behaviour opens the door to a new kind of competition: a global, ferocious and… instant one. For example, financial investors fight with tools such as the speed of High-frequency Trading (HFT) so they can be the quickest in the industry. Media outlets and news organisations are running 24/7 to be the first to announce “THE” breaking news. This major information is communicated not in a matter of minutes but a matter of seconds. It spreads throughout the world and has the potential to provoke massive political, financial or even social consequences.

We cannot blame any news organization willing to be the first “breaking (the) news”. But still, this is not without consequence… As Richard Stevenson was saying at a conference in Paris in February 2015: “Typos and mistakes are one of the saddest consequences of this increase in speed for the information. Journalism as we do it and as we consume it can’t lose its soul and values due to the digital revolution, we are learning everyday, and it needs to mature.”

How to take part of this revolution?

By offering to readers what they like to read, see and appreciate the most but also to give them something transparent, almost invisible that happens to us on a daily basis: a sip of serendipity. One of the hardest things that an algorithm can produce in our digital, interconnected world. “A pleasant surprise” that feeds curious minds and which is the key ingredient to growth converting charts 😉

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