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What are the foundations for success for Public Service Media developing new projects and products for digital news?

What are the key components for the successful development of new forms of digital news in Public Service Media?

A new report from the Reuters Institute, Developing Digital News in Public Service Media, examines eight new projects and products for digital news launched by Public Service Media (PSM) across six European countries, and establishes several key traits that interviewees suggest are necessary for success.

“The challenges faced by Public Service Media include how to provide news for their whole public – with younger audiences notoriously hard-to-reach, how to move their digital strategies, originally developed for desktop, to delivering to mobile devices, and how to deliver news effectively via third party platforms like social media platforms,” says Annika Sehl, lead author on the report.

“The projects we focus on in the report are primarily focused on addressing one or more of these three key challenges.”

With input from 36 interviewees; senior editors and managers as well as people involved in the development of each carefully selected project or product, the report finds four foundational factors that appear necessary for project success, along with three additional factors that seem to facilitate it.

The four foundational factors are:

  • Strong and public support from senior leadership
  • Buy-in from the wider newsroom
  • The creation of cross-functional teams with the autonomy, skills and resources to lead and deliver on projects
  • An audience-centric approach

The three facilitating factors are:

  • Having a development department specifically for news
  • Being able to bring in new talent
  • Working with external partners

“Public service media organisations have to be able to change – and continue to change – to succeed in the future as the digital news environment transforms,” says Sehl.

“External factors like public and political support can create an enabling environment. But it is up to the public service media organisations themselves to find new and effective ways of serving the public.”

The PSM studied in the report are Yle (Finland), France Télévisions and Radio France (France), ARD and ZDF (Germany), RAI (Italy), Telewizja Polska (TVP) (Poland), and the BBC (United Kingdom).

Download the report here.