A call for leadership: Newspaper execs deserve the blame for not changing the culture » Nieman Journalism Lab

It’s up to subsequent generations of leaders to forge a vision of the future within the context of the existing culture. Lofty speeches about the need to be “digital first” are not enough: Leaders must examine their own actions carefully to determine what they reward and what they punish, what the day-to-day routines of their organization reflect, and how best to create an environment in which open and constant communication is a priority. They must develop concrete reward systems that encourage risk and help employees make digital duties as much a part of their routines as the traditional.

In our research of news organizations, in study after study, we have repeatedly found this to be the case. One daily newspaper of less than 50,000 circulation we studied struggled with the change to a web-first organization because, though its leaders acknowledged the importance of the new medium, they did not reinforce that desire through their reward and accountability systems. Print revenue and circulation remained the benchmarks of success, not digital revenue or pageviews. As a result, newsroom staffers struggled to develop the kind of online content needed to expand the web audience.

an excellent post.

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