Knowledge Bridge

Global Intelligence for the Digital Transition

Building the next stage of the Knowledge Bridge

When Google rolls out something new, it often refers to the new product or service as a beta, a software development term that means that it is still being developed. Although we haven’t been as explicit about it as Google, we have thought about Knowledge Bridge being in beta, a public work in progress, since we unveiled the site in May. We were testing out ideas, and now we’re ready to move into a new stage of development.

From day one, we knew what we wanted to achieve; we had a clear mission for the Knowledge Bridge. We wanted to provide news, information, insight and even detailed resources to help news organisations around the world to make the digital transition. While many sites focus on digital editorial innovation, we wanted to provide global coverage of the digital media business. The Knowledge Bridge is a project of Media Development Loan Fund, which is focused on building sustainable news businesses, and as I often put it, we want to help news organisations not just do good, but also to do well. MDLF is focused on supporting the mission of journalism and the business of journalism.

As we drop the beta, that mission hasn’t changed. However, our thoughts on how to achieve our goals have evolved. We understand that the time of media owners, publishers, editors and journalists is scarce and valuable, and we have been experimenting with the pace of content that we produce, deciding that we’d rather focus on depth and actionable intelligence rather than volume.

We’re also diving deeper, and to help us provide this depth, we’ve started to recruit a range of contributors and are reaching out to content partners to help. In the coming weeks, you’ll see us bring a wider range of voices from a broader geographical spread.

Some things have surprised us. We hadn’t expected to find much coverage of the digital media business outside of Western Europe and North America, but we were surprised to find just how little information there is out there. Now, we see that the opportunity we originally identified is even greater than we believed. The Knowledge Bridge will work hard to fill that gap and work with our contributors and content partners to provide coverage of successful digital strategies working around the world, not just in North America or Western Europe, and in local, regional and national media markets.

Digital Briefing Live

We’ve already started rolling out new editorial features for the site, including a new multimedia feature for our monthly Digital Briefing. In the first installment of Digital Briefing Live, we interviewed the editor of EkstraBladet.de, Geir Terje Ruud. In the interview, we talked about print and digital integration at the website of the popular Danish tabloid. He delivered some great insights into how to create a workflow and organise a newsroom to deliver great multi-platform content. In our second Digital Briefing Live, we spoke to Sam Greene about the rapid growth of the internet in Russia and how that is affecting news organisations and journalism in that country. Russians are some of the most avid users of social media in the world, and their expectations for engagement and interaction is changing the relationship between journalists and their audiences.

Practical guides and resources

We always envisioned that in addition to analysis and coverage of digital media business strategies we would also have practical guides that media decision-makers could provide to staff. Over the past several months, we’ve started to build out our Resource Centre. There you will find practical guides to execute the strategies that we cover in our monthly digital newsletter, the Digital Briefing. For instance, when we looked at how to use ad networksAd networksAd networks provide an outsourced sales capability for publishers and a means…

Your suggestions

As we approached this public launch, your suggestions, input from readers like you, have been invaluable in refining our approach. Many of our readers and the news organisations that MDLF works with are focused on local or regional coverage, and you’ve asked for more examples focusing on local media strategies. That’s just one example, and if you have ideas for coverage or have spotted an interesting digital media product or digital media strategy where you are, email your thoughts and ideas to us at kb@mdlf.org.

This is just a start, and while we’re moving the site out of beta, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop growing, evolving and fine tuning our approach to helping news organisation make the digital transition. With Knowledge Bridge, we have taken the first few steps on mapping out a successful course for news organisations making the digital transition, and we’re excited about the next steps we have planned to help you on your journey.

Article by Kevin Anderson

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