Speaking truths in a changing media world

|| October 11, 2013

When Amazon guru Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in August, he admitted to staff that he was joining them on a journey to who-knows-where. "There is no map" in the new media world, Bezos told Post staff.

The Financial Times' editor Lionel Barber has joined Bezos in that world of reality with his email to staff outlining major changes. These should not come as a surprise to intelligent journalists. Barber writes that "the 1970s-style newspaper publishing process – making incremental changes to multiple editions through the night – is dead". He is right.

Barber should be praised for laying out the realities of the changing media environment. Hurriedly cramming minor changes to papers between editions makes little sense in these challenging times. At a basic level, it will be eight hours or so before readers get their copy. A lot can change in eight hours. And there is also the resultant impact on staff and the penalty wages for the cash-strapped papers.

Barber and Bezos are placing themselves at the forefront of the new media's reality seekers. It will be interesting to see how others react.