The empire is back! The new trend among news organisations: expansion. Britain’s Daily Mail, since last week the biggest online newspaper in the world when it surpassed the New York Times by 500,000 unique visitors, is a good example. After its editor-in-chief Martin Clarke took the US by storm with two offices in New York and Los Angeles, they now tackle the next English speaking realm, India, with a MailOnline India frontpage. So does the Wall Street Journal with an Indian edition and its Hindi blog, and the New York Times with India Ink.
Meanwhile, my lovely former employer The Guardian has launched an Arabic section of its site with articles on politics and current events in the Middle East as well as a series on football. The project to convert the large Guardian reading US audience into a more sustainable relationship is also making progress – last year my former MediaGuardian boss Steve Busfield packed his things to sport-blog from New York, from where the editor-in-chief of GuardianUS, Janine Gibson, subtly steers the digital US dinghy off to pastures new with a team of 10 editors. Which is a good thing: if journalism expands from foreign correspondent to flagship stores, the quality of journalism gains indeed as you always learn more on the ground.
The Huffington Post, on the other hand, goes the other way round with launching a British and now a French edition. Only it wouldn’t be the Huffington Post if they were not taking things even further, would it. Yesterday they announced a new thing: they will bring you Internet-TV with the Huffington Post Streaming Network. Sending live 12h daily from summer on, they plan to try something like “social media breaking news”, i.e. their journalists will pick up what is discussed on social media, and one third of the screen will display comments of Twitter and Facebook. That they take this project bloody serious tell the numbers: 100 journalists will be devoted to this.
Picture via TV Exchanger
Expansion is the new strategy but really, this seems a bit odd. Remember that last year we spend under the banner of the paywall? And anyhow, can expanding be an international trend? After all, it is tied to the English language, isn’t it? Indeed, in Germany, Spiegel Online just launched its own app for Spiegel Online International but it is doubtful that other media outlets follow that example. Smaller newspapers have to figure out their own way. Still, there are ways to grow, for example when expanding into new topics or – as the Huffington Post – new media. Thank you, internet, looks like 2012 will be an interesting year.