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Complete Community Connection

Complete Community Connection

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Published by Steve Buttry
This is the blueprint for a Complete Community Connection, a vision for a new and prosperous business model for today's media companies.
This is the blueprint for a Complete Community Connection, a vision for a new and prosperous business model for today's media companies.

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Published by: Steve Buttry on Apr 28, 2009
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07/10/2013

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A blueprint for the Complete Community Connection
Steve Buttry, Gazette Communicationsstevebuttry.wordpress.com, (319) 398-5815, steve.buttry@gazcomm.com 
This is a vision for transformation of our media company and of media companies in general. Avision like this needs lots of detail and I'll provide plenty of that in related posts. But mostimportant, it needs a simple proposition
 – 
how consumers and business customers will see us:For consumers, we will be their essential connection to community life
 – 
news, information,commerce, social life. Like many Internet users turn first to Google, whatever their need, wewant Eastern Iowans to turn first to Gazette Communications, whatever their need. Forbusinesses, we will be their essential connection to customers, often making the sale andcollecting the money. We will become the Complete Community Connection.Our company will provide an interactive, well-organized, easily searched, ever-growing, alwaysupdated wealth of community news, information and opportunities on multiple platforms. Weneed to become
the
connection to everything people and businesses need to know and do to liveand do business in Eastern Iowa. We need to change from producing new material for one-dayconsumption in the print product or half-hour consumption in the broadcast product to producingnew content for this growing community network of information and opportunities.Tim McGuire of Arizona State University, with whom I shared a draft of this blueprint,cautioned me: "Do not underestimate how scary and how big the concept of moving beyond one-day consumption is." This may be a scary change for our industry, but these are scary times. Ican think of nothing more scary for our industry than failure to reach far enough or changethoroughly enough.News remains essential to our mission and our identity, but cannot limit our vision. We do needto add to our information content storehouse daily with news and other information, some of itperishable but much of it evergreen. We need to be a portal through which you can easily reachany information or activities in the community. We need to provide a conveniently organized,easily searchable treasure chest of information that feeds multiple products that consumers reachin a variety of ways:Through community portals that direct them to useful information.Through search.Through habitual use of individual products using our content.Through direct access to raw content before it is packaged for various products.Virally as word spreads about the usefulness of our content, our various products or of the community network we develop.The details of the Complete Community Connection -- C3 -- will be determined not by mydecree but by the needs of the marketplace and by the creativity and abilities of the staff. I spell
 
Complete Community Connection, Steve Buttry, Gazette Communications Page 2
them out here to help staff, colleagues, community, company leaders and colleagues in themedia to see the possibilities, not to dictate an exact prescription. I welcome ideas that add to andimprove this vision. It will work most effectively when it is our
 
vision, not my vision.We will reach some people who never read The Gazette or watch KCRG by doing important jobssuch as connecting them with people of common interests or helping them find the products andservices that help them live their lives. We will serve other people in multiple ways, producingand delivering their morning paper and their evening newscast, providing text news alerts duringthe day and networking them in the community in a variety of ways.In many of these categories, our work is to design the digital infrastructure, develop the digitalmeeting place and promote the product, but the content will be provided by users, businesses andindividuals. In other cases, content will be material from our archives or from daily news contentthat we give evergreen use. We will need to generate considerable new content for some of theseproducts. And where we are relying on content from the community, we will need to investconsiderably in curating, editing, monitoring and promoting the content.In all of these cases, we need to look at mobile opportunities and email opportunities as well asprint and web. And we should watch for new opportunities as new technology presents new waysto connect. We should explore every possibility for providing people the news and informationthey want when they want it, whether that means email, text message, RSS feed, Twitter feed,social media, iPod, game device, GPS device or some other way of interaction. And, of course,print and broadcast will remain key platforms for some of this content for the foreseeable future.Despite our reduction in staff, this is a vision for a growing media company that eventually willgenerate new revenue streams to support new jobs.The C3 will help people form personal connections with our staff and each other similar to thepersonal connections they feel to Beth Malicki, Bruce Aune and other KCRG anchors. They will feel as if they know people they have never met, ranging from the bloggers they follow to momsor sports fans they connect with through our network. The C3 will form a relationship with itsusers reminiscent of that possessive feeling readers used to have (and, fortunately, as we've seenagain and again since the flood, many still have) with "my" newspaper. They tell us with pride oranger that we were "my" paper. Sometimes they would tell us that they didn't want that kind of content in "my" paper. While that's an uncomfortable conversation, it's an ideal businessrelationship.In the same way, C3 will be "my" web site, "my" email alert, "my" podcast, "my" text buddy,"my" shopping solution, "my" connection to customers, "my" solution for lots of life's little andbig jobs for individuals and businesses alike. (And yes, still, "my" newspaper.)
This overview introduces a collection of blog posts explaining the Complete CommunityConnection in detail. Continue reading about the background and concepts of C3:
 Development of C3Revenue approach
 
Complete Community Connection, Steve Buttry, Gazette Communications Page 3
Assumptions
Then read about the five major categories of C3 content and connection:
 Community contentPersonal content and connectionEntertainmentBusiness marketing and communication servicesEnriched news
Development of the C3 blueprint
I don't know whether I'm the right person to help guide Gazette Communications into achallenging and uncertain future. But I do know that I am here because of a vision for the futureof what we now know as newspaper companies that I shared with Publisher Dave Storey and CEO Chuck Peters last year as Storey was seeking a new editor.Both in interviews and in writing, I shared an earlier version of this vision with them. That wasabout the second draft; this collection of blog posts is at least the fifth draft. I wrote the first draftin the summer of 2007. I had spent most of that year working on the Newspaper Next project at the American Press Institute,teaching a new model for innovation to the newspaper business. Partnering with Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen,the world's foremost authority on disruptive innovation, N2 developed a new process for newspapers to use in innovation projects and a new strategic framework for transforming newspaper companies. It became thebuzz of the industry and colleagues and I taught the concepts of N2 across the country andaround the world.Most of the industry barely budged, falling deeper and deeper into classic patterns of disruptionthat Christensen has described in industry after industry. The typical response to N2's call forfundamental transformation was enthusiastic affirmation, then launching a good project or two ora few, but not addressing the need for thorough organizational transformation.Our industry seems to be clinging to Darwin's theory of evolution, hoping that gradual adaptationto changing environment will be enough to help us survive. That works in biology, but in today'sdisruptive business world, survival of the fittest is a matter of revolution, not evolution.This series of blog posts is my call for revolution in media companies, starting at GazetteCommunications.Interestingly, most of the most innovative work we saw in response to Newspaper Next focusedon developing new ways to provide content that helped people do useful jobs in their lives. Weweren't seeing many creative ways to develop new revenue streams. And as the traditionalrevenue streams began to decline, the need for revenue grew acute and obvious.At API, we began discussing the need for a new vision for the future of newspapers, acommunity-based communication company for the digital age. We recognized the need for a

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