Innovators in Digital News


Lucy Küng

News organisations are struggling with technology transitions and fearful for their future. Yet a cadre of news organisations – some new, some old - has emerged who are succeeding with digital news.  Why are Vice and BuzzFeed investing in journalism and why are pedigree journalists joining them? Why are established news organisations letting experienced journalists go but recruiting technologists? Why does everyone seem to be embracing native advertising? Why are some news organisations more innovative than others?

This book looks at several key players in the digital news industry and draws on extensive first-hand research inside the organisations. It explores how international media organisations - including The Guardian, The New York Times, Quartz, BuzzFeed and Vice - approach digital news. How do they operate? How do they innovate? What strategies have they adopted and why? Which structures, skills and attitudes are necessary to make digital journalism succeed? How are they financing their operations?

Lucy Küng identifies and discusses the common elements that underlie these organisations’ success with digital news.  While far from a universal prescription for dealing with the turmoil in the media industry, this book provides valuable pointers for how all players, legacy and clean sheet, can seize the growth potential that digital markets present.

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Author bio:

Lucy Küng is a Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. She splits her time between researching strategy, innovation and leadership in the media and working in the industry.  She is a Visiting Professor of Media Innovation at the University of Oslo and sits on the supervisory board of SRG, the Swiss public service broadcaster . She holds a PhD and Habilitation from the University of St Gallen, Switzerland and is the author of Strategy in the Media – From Theory to Practice and Inside the BBC and CNN – Managing Media Organisations.

"What can news organisations learn from the digital innovators? And how is news changing in the age of the algorithm? This well-researched, clearly argued book identifies crucial lessons for news executives and journalists. Through a series of case studies Lucy Küng has distilled the experience of those at the leading edge of digital news for the benefit of others still catching up.

Newsrooms may know the theory of success in the online social environment - but implementation is hard and the risks of failure high. Here, key steps by those who have succeeded are identified and analysed. Anyone with responsibility for managing media operations will benefit from this book."

Richard Sambrook, Professor of Journalism, Cardiff University; former Director of BBC News

"Lucy Küng’s book provides lucid analysis based on detailed inside looks at five of the world’s most interesting news organisations. Everyone in the news business should read it.”

Tom Standage, Digital Editor and Deputy Editor, The Economist

"In a changing landscape of news publishing Lucy Küng provides a detailed snapshot of the strategies and structures of leading digital news organisations. It is a thoughtful examination of how news organisations navigate the digital ecosystem at a critical time for journalism."

Emily Bell, Director Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

"With Innovators in Digital News, Lucy Küng takes us on a revealing tour of some key contemporary transformations in the making of news in America and the United Kingdom. The accessibility of her writing style and the diversity of case studies will make this book particularly appealing to practitioners."

Pablo J. Boczkowski, Professor and Director, Program in Leadership for Creative Enterprises, Northwestern University