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chapter 2

why design thinking

is critical for news

and media orgs

The future of news and media depends on the relevance of content and services to audiences. Historically, our understanding of audiences means we’ve provided them with what we think they need, based on our own assumptions. To be future fit, we need to put our audiences at the center of everything we do by using Design Thinking methods.

  • The future of news and media organizations depends on their relevance.

  • It’s time to put the customer’s needs first in order to deliver value to them.



The prevailing view — though flawed — is that news and media companies are an endangered species.


The industry has been fighting governments, misinformation, and disinformation, while trying to find new sustainable business models. The future of news and media depends deeply on the relevance of their content and services to audiences, as well as regaining the channels of interaction that have been disrupted by digital platforms.

A major part of the problem is that media is entrenched in a top-down perspective of audiences — let’s give them what we think they

need to know. This is one of the few industries that doesn’t actually take the time to understand what customers, users, readers expect of them. Figuring out what people want doesn’t have to be difficult, or expensive. But it does help having the right process.

To be future fit, we recommend that news and media companies apply the concepts of design thinking to redefine their organizations, distill the value they offer, and conceptualize the types of products that will drive their industry in the next several years.

“We must engage. To ignore the platforms and their people, to continue to believe that we can make a business by demanding that everyone come to us is delusion.”

Arthur Sulzberger, New York Times

Bringing design thinking into your organization simply means becoming audience-centric.

It also means being more collaborative and open to experimenting with new formats and shapes of products than previously thought so you can deliver real value for your customer.


We believe that by seeding an audience-first culture within media and news organizations, this industry can:


Build, improve, or restore relevance with audiences


Create an user-first product strategy


Develop new streams of revenue


Improve operational workflows


Design Thinking

for Media

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