Digital first works, says US editor

Story by Kris Wall

The only way publications can compete in the era of multi-platform communication is to adopt a fully digital-first approach to their operations, says Digital First Media editor-in-chief Jim Brady.

Speaking at the 2013 Future Forum, Mr Brady argued that companies needed to look at how they could make their everyday tasks easier through the use of digital innovations.

He said the challenge was finding staff that truly understood the capabilities of digital, but also had the ability to manage their people.

“We are finding there are not enough people who truly understand digital in publication management roles,” he said.

“Companies that lack this managerial skill also tend to lack in the technological support needed to provide thorough and up to date coverage of news events.”

Digital First Media has a stable of 75 publications and a consumer base of 57 million Americans each month. Mr Brady oversees each one of them.

To make his task easier, the company is constantly on the cutting edge of digital innovations for its publications – and the latest is Project Thunderdome.

Project Thunderdome aims to create a centralised team that produces high quality non-local journalism for all Digital First Media mastheads, across all platforms.

Mr Brady said the objective is to free up journalists to work on local content that mattered.

“In essence Thunderdome addresses any existing issues regarding efficiency, quality and revenue which still exist in our publications,” Mr Brady said.

Mr Brady believes if he can develop a successful business approach which centres on digitally skilled employees forming content, the ability to capture and keep the audiences of the future may be a lot easier than in the current climate.

Kris Wall is a second year journalism student at Charles Sturt University

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