Forget sushi in Tokyo


An often-heard complaint from journalists nowadays is that they don’t have time to attend an event, meet in person, or ‘do lunch’. Quite simply, they can’t get away from their desks. With media outlets now serving more channels – print, online, broadcast, social – and content generated by fewer editorial staff, it’s not surprising. The deadlines just keep coming as writers feed their hungry online news machines 24/7.

It makes me laugh to think about how it used to be. Back in the early 1990s when I first started as a journalist on an international trade magazine, we ran regular country reports. To research our material – in those pre-internet and even email days – our small team took turns to travel to the countries we reported on and paid personal visits to the companies we had to talk to.

It was planes, trains, automobiles, appointment sheets, a lot of maps and much time getting lost. The Benelux special report meant a five-day trip to Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge (often given to the most junior team member), while the Australia, US West Coast, South America or South East Asia reports involved a two-week jaunt to the likes of Rio, San Francisco, Manila and Sydney. Needless to say, the editor bagged these for himself.

In today’s online world, this simply wouldn’t happen. Information is gathered over the phone, Skype, email and Google. Forget sushi with a CEO in Tokyo – today’s young reporter travels no further than the coffee machine.

So, to connect with this less fortunate and more harried generation of reporters, we need to think of different solutions, that suit them and fit with the online demands of their day.

Stampa recently demonstrated one way of doing this with London client Sports Revolution, who had conducted insightful and entertaining research into the marketing social media successes and failures of the FIFA World Cup. We decided to engage journalists in the story in a way that would involve the least time and disruption, but with maximum relevance. A live web chat, involving the Sports Revolution social media team and four journalists, each logging in from their offices at lunchtime, was the perfect solution. We served them a host of visual examples, supported by expert comment, and encouraged a lively online debate. It was fun, got good results and no one travelled more than six feet.

It may be less glamorous and garner fewer air miles than the editorial ways of old, but that’s the price of progress.

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