Constantine Kamaras: New journalism must rely on accuracy and high editorial standards; when it comes to building a solid editorial business, clickbaiting is futile – and wrong

Constantine Kamaras, Chairman of the Board IAB Europe and Vice Chairman 24 Media Greece, thinks that many things have changed during the last few years when it comes of new and traditional journalism but, in his opinion, the new journalism must keep from its predecessor the commitment to accuracy and the high editorial standards.

Kamaras will be a speaker and will moderate the media panels at ICEEfest and he agreed to answered AdHugger a series of questions on media and the changes that influenced it during the last few years.

ConstantineKamaras

  • New and the traditional journalism

AdHugger: What is the same and what is different in 2015’s media compared to 5-10 years ago?

Constantine Kamaras: It’s impossible to make an exhaustive list on this – too many things have changed.  Two things stand out nonetheless: first of all, the pace of change that keeps accelerating to the point of becoming immensely challenging to meaningfully keep up with.  Secondly, the use of data – and this does not refer only to the quantity of data but also their variety and potential interconnected nature.

AdH: What must new journalism keep from the old journalism?

C.K.: In the same way that it must abandon its historically slower pace and its “broadcast mentality”,  it must keep old journalism’s commitment to accuracy and high editorial standards. Quality journalism that reports with precision and explains with clarity is likely to become increasingly important in an often-cacophonous media ecosystem.

  • Future of media

AdH: In a world living more and more in a virtual environment, what do you think there will be the future of print and traditional TV? Why?

C.K.: You could say “Traditional media are dead, long live traditional media!” – in other words, the physical embodiment of those media (be it a print newspaper or a TV set) may wither or become obsolete however the experiences they have been delivering for decades –or centuries!- are still a vital part of citizen’s media consumption diet.  And, interesting enough, just as distribution channels are multiplying, the deliverable product or service may be converging.

AdH: Revenue streams – everyone wants free content online and uses softwares to block ads. In this context, how do you get the money to cover the costs and keep the business going?

C.K.: Given the  success some quality news brands have had in charging users for content (e.g. The New York Times, Le Monde, La Repubblica etc), these revenues may prove not be negligible at all.  But, be that as it may, they will never be enough to finance a large news operation unless advertising covers the gap.  Ad blockers can become irrelevant if (a) audience targeting improves, making ads more relevant and (b) new creative standards (such as IAB Europe’s Brand Builders) are adopted, making ads less annoying.  And lest we forget: both native advertising and video, the fastest growing sectors of digital advertising, are far less affected by all this.    

AdH: Editorial projects sponsored by advertisers, yes or no? Why? Which are the terms in which you accept such a collaboration?

C.K.: Transparency.  Audience interest. Balance with editorial content. These three are absolutely the key.

  • Quantity vs quality 

AdH: There’s an ongoing trend of media tabloidization. Why do you think it happens? Can it be tackled?

C.K.: Tabloidization has been with us since the beginning of newspapers – this is nothing new.  This is not a digital issue – it’s a human nature issue and unless we all rise to demand to be better served, it will stay with us for a while.

AdH: Many publications use clickbait to drive more readership to their stories. Is this tactic benefiting publications? What are the downsides of using it?

C.K.: This is typical short term gain versus long term trouble – clickbait (particularly in the context of content discovery platforms) will get you visits in the short run but if the engaging content is not there, it’s a matter of weeks or months before readers abandon you.  Some degree of short-termism, in the face of constant rapid change, is understandable but, when it comes to building a solid editorial business, clickbaiting is futile – and wrong.

AdH: How can a publication maintain the quality standards without doing so on the expense of the readership?

C.K.: If it knows its readers well – and with the progress in audience analytics, it certainly can – and can serve their needs consistently, no such issue or dilemma will arise. Reader loyalty and other qualitative metrics will become more important in the near future and those that have resisted sensationalism will be duly rewarded. At least that is my hope.

AdH: What does a subject need to be an impactful story?

C.K.: Multimedia. A human angle. Good copy. Cross platform delivery.  Social amplification.

AdH: Please mention top 3 criteria a journalist must consider when writing a story.

C.K.: Is the story accurate and timely? Can it be enhanced with visuals? Is it compelling enough to be shared in socialdom?

Constantine Kamaras is Vice Chairman of 24 Media, Greece’s leading Digital Media Group. Previously, he was Publisher & CEO of Sport.gr, one of the largest sports portals in Greece and, before that, Director for Management and Marketing Services of the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers. A founder of IAB Greece, Constantine is very active in international associations, both as Chairman of IAB Europe’s Board of Directors and as Head of OPA Europe’s “Research & Insights” program, focusing on best practices in digital publishing.

ICEEfest – Interactive Central and Eastern Europe Festival – attracts thousands of marketers, agency people & online media enthusiasts from all over Europe since 2008. The CE Europe’s premium Digital Marketing event takes place in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

This year’s ICEEfest will include, besides inspirational presentations and applied workshops, 2 distinct satellite-events, namely Viral Music Night on June 11th and Viral Movie Night on 12th. Also, “200 Seconds of Fame” start-up competition will continue during this year’s festival. In the same time, in the context of the festival, there will take place the Romanian edition of IAB MIXX awards. The MC of the festival will be the British actor and comedian Jeff Leach.

ICEEfest is organized by Think Digital Group with support from IAB Europe and tickets are available on event’s official website, www.ICEEfest.com.

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