Jinfo BlogShaking Up the World of News

Tuesday, 11th November 2014

By Shimrit Janes

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The FreePint Topic Series: News, and Beyond was conceived in response to some real challenges that FreePint's clients are facing when it comes to looking at their needs around news awareness and research, including having to increasingly treat these to areas as distinct from each other. As we approach the halfway mark of the series, co-producer Shimrit Janes pulls out some key themes are are emerging, and gives a taste of what's to come.


FreePint Topic Series: News, and BeyondAs co-producer for the FreePint Topic Series: News, and Beyond I've spoken to a number of vendors as well as taken a peek of some of the articles that are soon-to-be-published. One of the great things that I'm hearing is the excitement and opportunity that is emerging in the face of real challenges that organisations are tackling when it comes to current awareness.

As my co-producer Chris Porter covered in his preview of the series, the world of news has and continues to be shaken up. Previously well-established vendors and content producers are in a state of flux, while a myriad of new players are emerging in the gaps.

Practices and expectations within businesses are also evolving, with what we actually define as "current awareness" and "news research" coming under the spotlight, and being stretched by ever-maturing business needs.

As we've explored these two distinct threads through this series - current awareness and in-depth research - there are at least three key themes that are emerging.

What Constitutes "Current Awareness"?

It seems redundant to be asking this question, as all of us know what we mean by this term. However, there is a real value in stepping back, and really evaluating whether the rules of the game have changed at all. And according to a number of our contributors, they have.

The upcoming Q&As with Linex Systems and Attensa both indicate that their clients are increasingly broadening the information that their people need to be "aware" of, taking in internally generated content as well as a whole host of updates from databases and publishers. This is something that I'll also be looking at in a little more detail in an article taking apart the concept of "current awareness" in more depth.

We also have a webinar coming up on 11th and 12th November addressing the question of "Is Our Need for News What it Used To Be?". Led by FreePint's director of research, Robin Neidorf, the webinar will see information strategists from a number of global organisations share and discuss their current thinking and approach to news delivery, as well as practical tips and insight into the way they're running their projects.

From Centralised Management to Enabling "Self-Service"

A number of articles have touched upon a trend where central information teams are increasingly stepping back from managing every aspect of current awareness, and are instead focusing on providing the tools and content sets that people need to manage their own needs.

The history of this trend will be looked at in more detail by Steve Bynghall in his piece "Is Current Awareness Now About Personal Knowledge Management? The Journey from Press Clippings to Hashtag Training". I'll also be touching upon this in an exploration of what we mean by "current awareness", while in interviews with FreePint both Fiona Fogden of Linex Sytems and Charlie Davidson of Attensa identify this as a key trend that they're seeing among their own clients.

Navigating the Competitive Landscape to Select the Right Tools

As well as exploring key concepts, FreePint is focusing on the technologies and sources that its clients need to contend with on a daily basis and when creating their strategies, as well as the key question of value.

Taking stock of just what the market looks like and providing guidance for readers, Robin Neidorf will be publishing a collection of articles under the title "Sell Side of News: The Competitive Landscape". Through these, she'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the drivers behind news research and current awareness, as well as carrying out an assessment of some of the best tools currently available, including those that support a more DIY approach.

In support of this area, FreePint is also holding a webinar at the start of the December looking at "Right Suppliers, Right Needs: A Competitive Analysis of Suppliers". The session will be taking a very practical look at just how readers can effectively match up the right supplier to their needs.

Away from the technology side of things, Sarah Hinton has written a piece exploring some of the key issues around "Evaluating Premium News Services Against Free Sources". Sarah draws on her own experiences as an information manager, and provides readers with a clear blow-by-blow account of how she evaluated a premium service against free alternatives, and how she came to her final decision.

This Blog item is part of the FreePint Topic Series: News, and Beyond.

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