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NEW(S) MEDIA Industry groups start to thrash out a vision for technology "We are no longer newspaper companies -- we can no longer define ourselves by a single distribution medium".



An interesting question arose at the February meeting of the Technology and Telecommunications Committee of the Newspaper Association of America The Newspaper Association of America is a United States trade association that represents the country's largest daily newspapers and provides services including market research, technology education and support, minority hiring and representing publishers in Washington, D.C.  (NAA NAA

Nomina Anatomica Avium.
): Is it possible to articulate a universal high-level vision of technology for the newspaper industry?

This led me to an even more important question: Can I somehow get a column out of writing the first draft? The latter seems probable; so does the former.

First, a word about the Technology and Telecommunications Committee -- it is actually a group of eight subcommittees: systems integration and business systems, pre-publishing and new media technology, printing technology; international technical affairs; packaging and distribution; newsprint newsprint

low grade paper used for newspapers. Old newspapers are fed to cattle as an alternative roughage and may occasionally be ingested by dogs. Significant amounts of lead are accumulated in tissues; no cases of poisoning have been recorded in cattle, though it has been
; environmental health and safety, and NEXPO planning. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the pre-publishing committee.)

A joint session between pre-publishing and systems integrations committees was meant to determine the areas of focus for each committee, but it became apparent that issues were so closely intertwined that it would be difficult to discuss them separately. So, the groups met jointly for the entire day.

At the end of the day, the joint committee had selected five areas for focus by the NAA, and appointed working groups to delve into each area. These are:

* Content management and digital asset management.

* Universal customer registration and directories, with a focus on a universal cookie cookie

File or part of a file put on a Web user's hard disk by a Web site. Cookies are used to store registration data, to make it possible to customize information for visitors to a Web site, to target Web advertising, and to keep track of the products a user wishes to
.

* Networks, database, telecom, voice recognition.

* Customer contact management, including call centers.

* End-to-end business-to-business commerce.

The committee also stressed the importance of communicating the "high-level vision" of newspaper organizations' technological needs to senior management. A white paper will be developed by committee volunteers to focus on why it is important to invest in technology and build the correct business infrastructure today for growth tomorrow.

Which returns us to our first precept An order, writ, warrant, or process. An order or direction, emanating from authority, to an officer or body of officers, commanding that officer or those officers to do some act within the scope of their powers. Rule imposing a standard of conduct or action.  -- a manifesto for newspaper technology:

* Newspaper companies must evolve into information companies. That means that we must become companies that create and package information -- primarily local news -- and distribute it.

* Evolution begins with new definitions. We are no longer newspaper companies -- that is, we can no longer define ourselves by a single distribution medium.

* Information companies, by definition, must be able to move data seamlessly across all systems. That requires an information architecture -- a set of standards and designs that wires all systems together and allows all data to be transported across all systems.

* Information architectures don't just fall out of the sky. You need to have information architects on your payroll. Newspaper companies have just begun adding chief technology officers to the executive suites. Good job. Now ditch them. Any technology officer will always be more or less an outcast out·cast  
n.
One that has been excluded from a society or system.



outcast
 from the traditional newspaper strongholds of business and editorial. And technology is not the point, information is. So get a CIO CIO: see American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.


(Chief Information Officer) The executive officer in charge of information processing in an organization.
.

* Put your CIO on the executive committee. Even those new CTOs are still outside the circle of power, a fatal error A condition that halts processing due to faulty hardware, program bugs, read errors or other anomalies. If you get a fatal error, you generally cannot recover from it, because the operating system has encountered a condition it cannot resolve.  for any company that hopes to thrive in the Information Age. CTO (Chief Technical Officer) The executive responsible for the technical direction of an organization. See CIO and salary survey.  consultations tend to sound a lot like "Here's what we've decided to do. How much will it cost?"

Invite your new CIO to the executive meeting. Discuss what you are trying to accomplish. You may be pleasantly surprised by the type of new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track.  generated when you add a different point of view to the mix.

* Information companies have universal registration, which is a system that provides our customers with access to all of our products with a single identification and provides us with access to all the data we have on each customer in a unified fashion. It is currently the only way possible to reach the grail grail
 or Holy Grail

In Arthurian legend, a sacred cup that was the object of a mystical quest by knights of the Round Table. The grail legend may have been inspired by classical and Celtic stories of magic cauldrons and horns of plenty.
 of sales: the ability to market all of our products to all of our customers on an individual profile basis.

Universal registration is a descriptive term for a technology called enterprise directory services. It consists of two major types of data repositories See repository.  -- directories, which are the computer equivalent of a telephone white pages (a directory might be all the registered users for an e-mail newsletter, for example), and metadirectories, which are directories of directories.

Here lies the true power of the system: Metadirectories allow individual directories to be brought together for data-mining, unified access and similar uses beyond those enabled by a single directory.

We'll talk more about universal registration in another column.

-- Christopher J. Feola, e-mail: cjf@newsinc.net
COPYRIGHT 2001 The Cole Group
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:NewsInc
Date:Mar 26, 2001
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