Interview with “Oberpfalz Medien – Der neue Tag” editor-in-chief Kai Gohlke
“A big difference is the less time it takes”
HUP GmbH: Congratulations on the new title as editor-in-chief of “Oberpfalz Medien – Der neue Tag” (DNT). Has nothing or actually everything changed?
Kai Gohlke: Many thanks. Not much has changed in practice, I have been responsible for operations for several months and now the right note has been attached to it, so to speak.
Let’s get straight to the nitty-gritty, since you are already working with our PS.Content solution. How does the use of PS.Content affect your newspaper and your company?
We are currently in the process of converting our workflows from a print-driven company, which then places the content on the Internet as secondary use, to a channel-neutral workflow with online first-priority.
In practice, what does this look like?
We get a lot of content from freelancers, which makes up a large proportion of the articles we publish. The freelancers create the content in PS.Content, the producer opens and edits it. When the article is ready for online publishing, it is published and sent to the print team. A big difference from before is the less time required. Just a few years ago, articles were published at 8pm in the evening – after they had been placed on the newspaper pages. Now we can serve our readers shortly after the article has been uploaded by the freelancer. By decoupling online and print, we accordingly gain several hours, sometimes even days.
So the actually impossible Mini-Max principle …
Correct. I see the content categorization possible in PS.Content as a great asset that has already been set up in our company. This is how we distinguish strongly between content. One example is category C in the form of standard and deadline reporting. This content, which can also be a report from an association etc., is mainly supplied externally and should be edited by our editors in all channels professionally and media-specifically with as little effort as possible.
How do you select which articles make it into the printed medium?
With the next version of PS.Content we are theoretically able to analyse the performance of each article with little effort. However, our freelancers and producers have so much experience in practice, or there are orders on hand, that the selection of topics takes place much earlier.
But they certainly do not ignore the user taste?
Of course, it is good to be able to change your mind in case of surprising user reactions in print. In the future, we certainly plan to involve the user with his or her preference in the topic decision. Here, however, we are concentrating more on measuring the response and reading depth and length of stay of our subscribers digitally. If we were only looking at coverage, the proportion of police reports would probably be even greater than it is now. We are developing an article score, which we are mapping accordingly as a performance tool in PS.Content. Basically, I expect our editors to have a feel for topics and valuable content. In the future, however, these should at least be compared with the real performance figures for orientation and as a supporting aid.
AI, robot journalism & Co are rather threatening scenarios for the future of journalism for you?
No, we have already gathered extensive information on this subject in houses in Scandinavia. They are much more offensive with the score-driven article evaluation. However, when it comes to planning, they are just as conservative and people-driven as we are.
The prerequisite for quality journalism.
No, our approach is the prerequisite for being able to offer more quality in the decisive areas. When I see that more editors in local newsrooms are still busy with the processes than with their journalistic work, then this is too expensive, not reader and user-oriented, this must be changed. We need more reporter capacity for category A and B content that users and readers are willing to pay for. At the same time, however, we cannot expand the editorial team in an economically viable way. Today, nobody pays us a cent for the annual general meeting of the shooting club and the club has its own homepage, so we have lost our sovereignty in these subject areas as a content channel. Therefore, we make sure that the ratio is right again with PS.Content, among other things.
What else can we expect from DNT?
We are in the process of establishing the editorial planning in the course of the conversion to PS.Content version 1.7. In the future we also want to handle the planning of most topics in PS.Content and not just the process of articles and content that already exists. This will be a very important step for us. We also want to and will position ourselves more broadly as a publishing house and see that we monetise our content on as many channels as possible. Nevertheless, it is clear that, at least in the medium term, the daily newspaper will remain the main revenue driver. In addition to the ticket shop, event app, course offerings, etc., new business models include a digital subscription model, which we are now launching. We must be successful in many business areas if we are to compensate for the declining print business in the future.