Washington Post CEO: Readers Want A personalised Experience

ignition 2012 don graham larry kramer

Photo: Megan Dickey

As digital becomes the dominant way to consume news, traditional publishers have started to rethink their strategies for staying relevant.At our IGNITION conference today, USA Today publisher Larry Kramer asked Washington Post CEO Don Graham about what the Post is doing to keep up in the digital age, and whether it’s focusing on its strengths.

“Of course we are,” Graham said. “But I also think for you and for us, that might be a slightly backwards way of thinking about it. I think a lot of our issues stem from the fact that we’ve been constantly looking at redefining ourselves instead of looking at what the readers want.”

Graham says that readers want to be their own “curators,” selecting the news they find interesting rather than having an editor pick it for them, and have a highly personalised experience.

“There’s an awful lot of news startups today,” Graham says. “It’s raining startups. and the best of them are personalised in interesting ways.”

Graham argues that if you could combine the technology talent that startups have with the heft that great newsrooms have, “you’d have something that would be difficult to match for someone doing a startup.”

An arm of the Washington Post Company called Socialcode recently hired most of the technology team behind news site Digg. (Another company, News.me, picked up the Digg brand.)

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