Boardman Q & A: Consumers will continue to value news
Ball State University APME & ASNE Convention Team
David Boardman is the president of the American Society of News Editors, and also the current Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously he was Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of The Seattle Times. He had oversight and responsibility for the news department of Washington state's largest newspaper and its website. Boardman rails against the optimistic talk of the newspaper industry, which insist that the fall isn't too bad and to collapse.
Q: With your experience in journalism and as ASNE president, how has the newspaper industry changed in the last year?
A: The industry is changing quickly in ways good and not so good. On the positive side, I see tremendous innovations in storytelling and newsrooms ready to do whatever it takes to serve readers. But on the negative side, I see newspaper companies that are changing much more slowly than their newsrooms are. They are hanging on to the old, seven-days-a-week print model even though all signs point to its imminent demise, and that fingertip-gripping approach is keeping them from doing the transformation they need to do.
Q: What challenges does ASNE face in the next year as an organization?
A: ASNE is in much better shape than it was a couple of years ago. We made some tough decisions by tightening our focus, trimming our staff and moving from Washington, D.C., to the University of Missouri. Simultaneously, though, we've made ourselves more relevant to our members and to the profession by focusing on the digital transition, on leadership, on diversity and on the First Amendment. Membership is up and on a much broader base that includes more digital journalists and more educators. In the next year, we need to do even more to help our members.
Q: In your Poynter article "Hey, Publishers: Stop fooling us, and yourselves," you questioned publishers' attempts to exaggerate the financial status of print media. Why do you think publishers aren't facing the facts?
A: Because most of them work for publicly traded companies that are focused on quarterly results, not on long-term needs.
Q: You also mentioned several ways how news organizations should be doing to survive in a difficult era, what do you believe is the future of print?
A: I think consumers will continue to value the entire range of news and information, from breaking-news tweets to long-form narratives.
Q: In a digital-first environment, how can news organizations find a model that makes money?
A: The challenge for us is to get them what they want when and how they want it, and to find a business model to pay for the journalism the public wants and needs.
Q: How will the news consumer behave in five or 10 years?
A: I think consumers will continue to value the entire range of news and information, from breaking-news tweets to long-form narratives. The challenge for us is to get them what they want when and how they want it, and to find a business model to pay for the journalism the public wants and needs. We must. The Democracy truly does depend on it.