"News You Can Use" Recap
Visitors came from as far as Mexico to hear Josh Klenert of Huffington, Dirk Barnett of Newsweek Daily Beast (until the end of the week, when he becomes CD of The New Republic), D.W. Pine of TIME and Joe Zeff of Joe Zeff Design talk about the challenges of producing content for magazines, tablets, phones, websites and books on a weekly schedule. Arianna Huffington introduced the speakers and AOL provided the space and refreshments for a capacity crowd.
To come: a photo gallery by Thaddeus Rombauer, and an announcement of upcoming Speaker Series events. Meanwhile, five takeaways from "News You Can Use:"
1: Everything old is new again.Two 89-year-old newsmagazines sit atop the "New and Noteworthy" section of the iTunes Newsstand this week, along with another that has produced only 12 issues. All three publications continue to reinvent themselves on a weekly basis, and when they're not multitasking into the wee hours to produce their myriad editions, they're brainstorming about what their brands must do next to connect with consumers.
2: Magazines, and much more. Josh talked about how Huffington built an iPad app from the ground up that emphasizes commenting. Its articles generate thousands of responses, turning a weekly magazine into an ongoing dinner party where readers can exchange ideas with others, much like Huffington's web properties. Josh is focused on engagement not only in his magazine but on his web and mobile sites, and how to best leverage the strengths of each.
3: Multimedia matters. Dirk showed one brilliant example after another of video shorts that go way beyond what Newsweek, or any magazine, can deliver in print. Animated slideshows turn feature spreads into Hollywood-style title sequences. It's a lot more work, says Dirk, but the payoff makes it worthwhile. Regardless of what the future holds for its print magazine, Newsweek has built a digital brand with considerable staying power.
4: D.W. needs a vacation. And so does his staff at TIME magazine, which had a very busy August: 18 covers, 812 printed pages, 15 digital editions, 4,200 digital layouts, 3 hardcover books, 1 daily mobile app, a 72-page Style & Design issue and 30,000 reader photographs. What's more, they made it look easy, producing best-of-class design, photography and illustration that continues to set the standard for the entire publishing industry.
5: Invest today for tomorrow. One attendee asked how to persuade his publisher to launch a digital edition. Joe explained that many publishers are investing now in a wide-open future where lower-priced devices will make content consumption on the tablet much more commonplace. The return on investment may be years away, but publishers need to establish their brands today in order to be relevant tomorrow. Once tablets replace textbooks, the idea of consuming content on printed pages may be a thing of the past.