Like many industries, the media landscape is going through a digital transformation which is changing the way newsrooms operate.

As part of this year’s Social Media Week Bristol, CIPR South West hosted a session looking the day-to-day working environments of digital editors and journalists to help brands and individuals tailor their pitches to get coverage across digital platforms and social media channels.

One of the guests being interviewed for the panel was Bristol Post editor Mike Norton. As the second longest running editor in the history of the Bristol Post, Mike Norton has 14 years working at the publication. The Evening Post launched in Bristol in 1932. It evolved to become the Bristol Evening Post and in 2018 relaunched its news website – Bristol Live.

For this event, Mike discussed the essential changes that the Bristol Post team had to implement to remain current in a digital age, transforming from a predominantly print newspaper into online news site. A few of our PR agency team took the opportunity to attend. And, here’s our summary of what Mike has to say:

When faced with the digital transformation, the Bristol Post has become a fleet footed multimedia organisation with the ambition to “protect print as it declines and pursue digital as it grows”. From this ambition, Bristol Live became the digital first entity and Bristol Post the print version – now 3 out of 5 Bristolians engage with either print or online news every month.

With the changes, the content has also had to evolve – Bristol Live has a team of digital journalists that create content that goes beyond news stories, by writing listicles, blogs, creating podcasts, reporting live news feeds and updating social channels to deliver news as it happens.

When asked what stories drive the most traffic, Mike explained:

“Live news is what the people of Bristol want – live updates, traffic news, crime incidents, anything that is happening here and now. After that the second most popular is human interest stories, followed by what’s on and reviews, football and shocking videos.”

By monitoring and analysing stories that generate interest and dwell time, the Bristol Live team can identify what readers are and also aren’t interested in, and shape content in line with this. Mike continued; “If a story receives 10,000 clicks and a minute reading time, it’s a popular story. You have to care what the audience wants and engage with them accordingly.”

The digital transformation has had four significant impacts on newsrooms…

  1. We now have a 24/7 news cycle – every day is a press day
  2. Third party platforms play a bigger part in news generation and have an impact on where news is coming from
  3. There has been a significant rise in the number of independent journalists and niche journalism
  4. News is now consumed very differently to with most online news read on mobile phones. This means social media advertising and content curation has a major impact on how news is delivered, and algorithm-led processes now shape how content is presented

Read more about our experiences at Social Media Week Bristol – and if you went along, connect with us on Twitter to tell us what you thought of the events.

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