The Rise of Product Thinking in Media: A Series

As media and news organizations try to build successful digital products, they are learning that “product thinking” is a key to success.

This series of articles explores product thinking as an emerging discipline, shows how it has worked in practice, and provides advice for people considering career opportunities in product work.

1: Journalism Has Been Disrupted.  Can Product Thinking Save It?

In the last 25 years, media organizations have had to evolve from one-product businesses into multi-product, technology-enabled companies. This evolution was born out of necessity, ushering in a new era that requires “product thinking” and the emergence of a new discipline: news product management.

2: How Newsday Launched Community News Alerts on Mobile. A Case Study in Product Thinking

Newsday wanted to build engagement with its mobile app.  Ryan Restivo, the company’s project manager for mobile apps, explains how the news organization went about planning, developing and launching local news alerts.

3: The Skills, Experiences and Mindsets that Make Great Product Thinkers and Product Managers

As product management roles become increasingly common in news and media organizations, people with an interest in the field should understand the skills, experiences and mindsets that will help them be successful. Here’s what working product managers say aspiring product thinkers need to succeed.

4: For a Product Manager, Here’s How Emotional Intelligence Enables Success

Soft skills, power skills and people skills. In the office, emotional intelligence goes by many names. But whatever the name, these skills are the key to success for product people. I talked with 10 product thinkers, most of whom hold product manager titles.  All mentioned leveraging emotional intelligence to conduct user research, manage and lead teams or secure buy-in across their organizations.

5: How the Daily Maverick Launched a Print Newspaper in a Pandemic. A Case Study in Product Thinking

While many publications have eliminated or scaled back print editions, South Africa’s Daily Maverick announced it was launching a weekly newspaper.  It wasn’t a crazy idea – thanks to product thinking, a discipline we have developed over the years.

6: Attention Software Developers! Media Organizations Need You. Here’s What to Expect

As digital media companies become tech companies, their need for people with technical backgrounds grows, creating opportunities for software developers interested in product and engineering work in journalism and media. Here’s some advice for technologists interested in moving into news.

7: Yes, Product Thinking can Save Journalism. Here’s Why News Organizations need Product Thinkers

Product thinking is the most important mindset for media companies to adopt if we are going to ensure that their content reaches and serves people.  Here are the reasons why news organizations need product thinkers – and a product thinking culture.

This series was reported and written by Meredith Gallo, a recent graduate of the Medill School’s master’s degree specialization in Media Innovation & Content Strategy. Ryan Restivo of Newsday and Styli Charalambous of the Daily Maverick in South Africa contributed case studies.  Medill Prof. Rich Gordon edited the series and contributed the closing article.

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