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Waterfalls? Bottled water? Torry Pedersen’s take on Newsroom Integration April 18, 2009

Posted by Kristin in symposium.
Tags: , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of www.vg.no

Photo courtesy of http://www.vg.no

Is newsroom integration working?  Not for VG online Editor-in-Cheif Torry Pedersen it isnt.  (VG online is Norway’s most profitable and most read news site)

Should it work?  According to Pederson, no again.

Pedersen offered some very interesting percentages to back up his argument.  Out of the 4.8 people in Norway, newspaper reach 52% of them each day, meaning more than hald of the entire country is reading the news in print or online every day.  55% of the daily readers do this digitally.  42% of the ad revenue is digital and 39.5% of the profit is digital.  VG online recieves 9.3 million unique views each month and is entirely separate from its corresponding newspaper.

Pederson then took his demonstration a step further by offering some very interesting comparisions. He first compared newspapers and the web to ski and snow, showing two very different types of skiers and explaining that though they both use the same tool and delivery mechanism, snow, their form is still different.  The same can be said for newspapers and the web, he said.  “There is an urgency for product development in newspapers, however, the web is developing by the day.  The format is different.”

He then compared newspapers and the web to a bottle of water and a waterfall.  The waterfall represented the web–continues flowing, raw, unlimited and in real time.  The bottled water represented newspapers–limited space, distilled, refined and bottled.  An excellent comparison in my opinion.

Pedersen continued to argue that you simply cannot be the best at producing newspapers and online content simultaneously.  He coined the term “the best friend mode” in which you have “integrated separation”.  “You could be in the same flat but [the two] should be structured differently.”

Another good point he made was by explaining how a newspaper editor might say, “Don’t publish, I might need this for tomorrows paper!”  And how the online editor would say, “Publish now!”

Bottom line: Global organizations should not integrate because the structure and format of the two are entirely different.

Follow Torry Pederson on Twitter (though you will have to translate the text! 😉 )

Also check out this article on Torry Pedersen!



1. ISOJ - sumário « - April 29, 2009

[…] sido a mais forte do simpósio para todos os presentes). [Mais sobre a intervenção de Pederson aqui e sobre a estratégia do grupo VG […]

2. Integrated newsrooms must remember print and digital are different products - September 27, 2011

[…] context of serving different and differentiated journalism products across print and digital media. Torry Pedersen of Norway’s VG has one of the best ways of understanding this. At a conference in 2009, he put it this […]

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