While digital media companies may seem to be on the forefront of newsroom innovation, traditional journalism organizations are also experimenting with business models and taking real risks. The Washington Post, a venerated publication dating back over a century, is looking more and more like a technology-first media company. Traffic-wise, the Post has been consistently eclipsing records—in November 2016, it exceeded 100 million unique online visitors. The company has also been investing in technology to bolster its reportage. It launched a variety of new software to get its content into the world, including an in-house testing product, new ad offerings, and tools to help reporters and editors act faster around breaking news. In September 2017, the Washington Post revealed that it had signed up more than 1 million digital-only subscribers, up 300% in just a year. But there’s more to the company’s current boom than intrepid journalism: The 140-year-old paper, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos since 2013, functions as a software company as well, with proprietary code powering its app’s augmented-reality storytelling features and moderating comments. The Post also sells its robust in-house publishing platform, Arc, as a service (which the Los Angeles Times and the New Zealand Herald started using in 2017). “If it works here, most likely it’s going to work for other large newsrooms,” says CTO Scot Gillespie.
February 20, 2018 at 10:17 AM EST