NAA’s new chairman says newspaper biz should have collaborated sooner

NetNewsCheck | NAA | Financial Times

At the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange conference Tuesday, Robert Dickey, the president of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing division, said U.S. papers should have collaborated more before the meteor hit:

As they looked forward, the publishers also took a step back when asked what advice they would’ve offered to their predecessors in the industry 15 years ago.

“At the time when we had the cash flow, we should have been much more aggressive about a product development mentality around digital,” Dickey says, noting he would’ve begged for more collaboration across the industry.

“If you look at what we’re competing against, had the industry gotten together those ideas should’ve been ours,” he says.

NAA announced Monday that Dickey had been elected its chairman. Washington Post executive Stephen Hills was also elected to a spot on the board. In a neat bit of symmetry, Hills yesterday spoke with Financial Times reporter Emily Steel about the Post’s new partnership program with other publishers, which gives subscribers to other newspapers access to the Post’s website and app.

New Post owner Jeff Bezos “is asking the question of: ‘What can you do to have a great digital audience 10 years, 20 years from now?’” Hills told Steel. “Under previous ownership, the very reasonable question we were asking was: ‘How do we make money in the next two to three years?’”

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  • Mark Potts

    Unfreakingbelievable. New Century Network. Classified Ventures. PAFET. Countless side conversations. There were many, many attempts at collaboration in the newspaper industry in the earliest days of digital; clueless old-line executives choked them at every turn. This is revisionist history at its worst.