International Journalism Festival 2022 – The Qurio Way

Audience Engagement related takeaways from IJF ‘22

Few weeks ago we attended the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. It’s the largest journalism conference with more than 400 speakers and a truly international audience. We came back to base with lots of inspiration, new contacts, and a reality check that enhanced our drive to keep building Qurio. If you just landed here, Qurio is an engagement management platform that helps small and medium-sized news organizations build relationships with their communities.

Qurio co-founders Tassos Morfis and Spyros Tzortzis vising the International Journalism Festival in Perugia #ijf22

It was our first business trip as a newly-formed team and the very first international trip after two years into the pandemic. After a two-year hiatus, the festival was full of inspiring talks available online on the Festival’s YouTube channel. We met some amazing journalists, entrepreneurs & publishers. We caught up with many colleagues from all over the world [some being good friends] while missing many others who couldn’t make it this year due to COVID restrictions and obligations in their home countries.

As one of the founders of AthensLive, Greece’s first non-profit newsroom, our founder Tassos talked about how local news empowers civic engagement and fights misinformation & disinformation. Especially during the years when Greece was in the spotlight of multiple crises, AthensLive had to turn civic engagement into revenue to remain independent and stay afloat and battle not only misinformation & disinformation around several issues and battle stereotypes around Greeks and Greece.

Even though there are multiple panels that you can find all here, we have prepared a quick run-through of the ten most exciting sessions around community-driven media and engagement, innovation in journalism, and business models.

News and how to use it: where does the audience fit in?

The session points out how media are navigating from the era of “the audience as a mass” to a new era where communities include audiences in their day-to-day practices.

The description of the session says it all:

Once upon a time, they were the audience. Then “the people formerly known as the audience”. Then came the backlash, with comment sections closed down and a revolt against social media. Then a counter-movement, with young news organizations built around audience inclusion. Where do viewers and readers fit in the contemporary news ecosystem?

Let’s rebuild the European local media ecosystem: infrastructure for thriving community media

The session was an intro to beabee, a collaborative open-source and privacy-first software and community project by the German CORRECTIV and the UK-based TBIJ and The Bristol Cable. Beabee is an exciting project that provides the tech, so people across Europe can start and run local, independent, community-driven, and membership-financed newsrooms to bring more diversity to our local information ecosystems.

From a passive mass audience to a vibrant community: a how-to panel

Richard Hoechner, co-founder & head of community Republik, and Lea Korsgaard publisher and Chairman of Zetland, Co-founders of Republik in Switzerland & Zetland in Denmark two of Europe’s most successful membership-based media share business insights, inspiration, and lessons about how to listen to your community, learn from them and translate what you know into great journalism and a sustainable revenue model, how to build and maintain a community-centric organization, and how to build a culture of trust between newsroom and members.

How local news media around the world are rethinking everything

A great panel with innovators from India, Guatemala and South Africa sharing how they are building the future of local news in areas of the world that do not dominate the headlines. Watch this panel if you need inspiration about how mission-driven newsrooms can make a difference in your community, and hear about the awe-inspiring growing scene of India’s female-led newsrooms. We were lucky enough to find a spot so we could follow in person, and the achievements of the local newsrooms are astounding.

Conversations from the ecosystem: how to reenergize and protect free expression and local journalists

The events of the last two pandemic years have spurred old and new conversations about the role of journalism to uphold the truth and report on the news in a hyper-politicized media ecosystem. Orthodox editorial practices now stifle the expression and agency of some journalists to report from within their communities, and misinformation has created a lingering cleavage of trust between citizens and the press. This is a diverse panel that discusses the challenges and good practices to run a successful, diverse, and vibrant newsroom at a community service.

Why 2022 should be the year of impact in journalism

The impact is why many of us became journalists, but it’s hard to achieve and even harder to measure. Impact starts only after the story is published. What is the impact of our reporting on our audiences? How can we begin to measure the impact of our work? Why might measuring impact be beneficial for revenue and audience growth? This panel brings together program leads, impact analyst specialists, and impact editors who have been designing and implementing new ways of tracking impact for newsrooms large and small.

When content is product: editor-in-chief, product manager = product editor?

The product revolution is in the making, and you should watch this session to either understand more about “product” or join! From the session’s description: “In this panel, one of the most evident and intriguing trends in modern publishing will be unpacked – deeper integration of content and product disciplines. In digital publishing, ‘jobs to be done (product) and ‘user needs’ (content) are the same things as far as the audience is concerned. The media has started paying attention, and the two disciplines have never been closer, operationally and existentially. However, problems remain in training, culture, processes, and other areas.”

How to decide how to do new things (or not) in newsrooms

For all you newsroom innovators out there! Speakers with experience in newsroom innovation talk about the pressure to innovate, create new products and shiny new formats, and innovative strategies to reach new audiences, engage existing ones, or earn more revenue.

Watch this panel if you want to hear from newsroom leaders whose job it is to do just that – answer those big strategic and editorial questions every day but from four very diverse news media perspectives: a national public radio and broadcaster, a subscription daily news media, a live events company, and a free daily news media.

Growth: What are the big levers, and what muscles do organizations need to pull them?

Growth is what everyone in every newsroom desires. But it’s also the common core challenge for the media industry. How are newsrooms entering the post-COVID era, and what will get them to the future? This panel explores those levers – from spurring organic growth in the core through innovation in formats, products, and services, to acquisitions, and reflects on what organizational muscles are needed, from competencies to culture, to ensure growth happens.Growth: what are the big levers, and what muscles do organizations need to pull them?

What’s next for the business of news?

The title is indicative. A great panel organized by the Reuters Institute that focuses on lessons learned at different kinds of publishers forging ways ahead – including titles focused on reader revenue, titles that concentrate on advertising, and titles that seek to cultivate other sources of income to sustain their journalism – and identify critical trends journalists need to recognize in a market with few winners, and many losers.

This last panel poses the million-dollar question for a media-tech startup.

At Qurio, we believe that one of the practices that will shape the future of the business models of the news industry is careful listening.

News organizations try to listen to their communities in many ways and formats. It does good for the newsrooms. After all, they increase trust and revenue in the communities because they feel heard and valued. Eventually, they can make more informed decisions for society and the world in general.

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to talk about media innovation. We can’t wait for another trip to Perugia and #IJF23!