For many years I’ve championed the idea of a “central content pot” and for publishers to pursue brand neutral content creation. But, it’s surprising just how many publishers still don’t get it.
But some do, and it appears you can place Thomson Reuters in that camp. A job ad for a new Singapore-based Executive Managing Editor at the Thomson title Asian Legal Business (ALB) is explicit in its requirements for the successful candidate to be fully embedded within the Reuters news business.
Aside from the usual tasks and responsibilities that go with a managing editorship, the job description states:
Chief liaison to Reuters News responsible for fostering and overseeing a collaborative relationship whereby ALB and Reuters are developing story leads, sharing sources, sharing content and co-newsplanning (including attending and contributing to the daily Reuters newsplanner).
Bravo, excellent. So ALB gets a say in the overall news planning process, gets to contribute content to Reuters subscribers who otherwise wouldn’t have access and gets to enhance its own output with content from the world’s largest news operation.
The benefits of sharing content across titles and brand collaboration are manifold. From a cost perspective it makes absolute sense. Why should you duplicate effort in crossover areas? But it is the customer who really benefits. With few exceptions, the customer wants to be able to easily access the full story and to be fully informed around priority subject areas. Brand may well be important, but if you dig a little deeper it is actually the value proposition that accompanies the brand and its content that is most important. If the reader trusts the brand, then the content will also be trusted, regardless of source.
Reuters is testing the barriers here too. It is not just curating content from across the Thomson Reuters empire, but through its Counterparties experiment it is trying to work out what a news website would look like if it didn’t need to promote its own content, and just linked to the best stories and posts, regardless of source.
They’re be another post on that soon.
For now, just remember one word: Collabratition, which I define as collaboration with competitors for the mutual good.