Trying to turn the tide of the decline of newspapers from the inside involves a great deal of evangelizing and pontificating and running through sets of common scenarios with folks who are still firmly planted in the Paper business rather than the News business.
That’s no surprise.
And it’s no surprise that top-down, do-it-this-way mandates don’t work just because the ideas are sound.
Taking those two obstacles as a given, my basic goal when I talk with the staff at a newspaper is to try to identify — or bring out of the woodwork — one early adopter. This might be a photographer or a reporter with a personal blog or an editor who got sent an interesting link in their e-mail and ended up bookmarking a blog.
The important part of the job isn’t speaking to the first 20 people on the conference call for an hour, it’s maintaining contact with the one person on the call who has the potential to Get It: Moving from the Paper business to the News business isn’t as simple as picking up a different skillset; it’s about changing the mindset of journalists.
So find those early adopters and corner them. Point them in inspiring directions and let them start to work out – on their own – where to go next.
Because you can’t mandate mindset. But you can grow culture.