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Veteran US journalist tips on adapting to new digital era

Veteran US journalist Kenneth Cooper has tipped journalists and newspapers on how to remain relevant amid changing consumer preferences dictated by digital age.

Mr Cooper, while speaking to staffers of Daily Monitor, a subsidiary of the Nation Media Group, said social media has undercut newspaper copy sales and many consumers are accessing online news free of charge. In the end, he said, newspapers are struggling to recoup production costs and media workers are paying the ultimate price by losing their jobs.

“The way out could be creating original content for the web and newspapers. That creates value,” Mr Cooper said at Monitor Publications Limited offices in Kampala yesterday. He added that newspapers should now focus on explanatory, in-depth and analytical journalism.

He advised journalists to multi-task since the age of specialisation either as a photographer or only writer has ended.

“You equip yourself with skills [learn] how to use a digital camera, recorder , InDesign and lay pages… those are the skills,” he advised the editors and reporters.

His advise comes days after the management of MPL rolled out a new organisational structure in order to improve its revenues.
MPL managing director Tony Glencross last week said this was being done to meet the customers’ needs and grow circulation.

“In view of the rapidly changing consumer needs, we have embarked on a journey to drive the digital/mobile first and business convergence strategies that will allow us grow new revenue streams while securing our current print and broadcasting businesses,” Mr Glencross said.
In the new organisational structure, some staffers lost their jobs.

Mr Charles Odoobo Bichachi, the MPL executive editor, said newspapers have been the first medium to suffer whenever new technologies are invented. He, however, said newspapers are resilient and social media, just like television and radio inventions, will not kill them.