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I’m glad the Trump-Kim media circus is over. There were 2,500 registered media people at the press center. Many had flown in to cover the summit.
Let’s do the math. Conservatively, let’s assume newsrooms spent $10,000 to get each of their journalists out to Singapore — flights, hotel, food. That’s $25 million, again conservatively.
What did they get out of it? Wall-to-wall coverage of:
What does $25 million in Trump-Kim Summit coverage buy you? @alansoon ran the numbers—and it doesn't add up.
That’s what $25 million in coverage gets you. And we wonder why newsrooms can’t afford to launch new products, can’t afford to pay their staff, can’t afford to build new tech.
Let’s be honest: it’s incredibly difficult to come away with differentiated coverage at a tightly managed event like this summit. Yet every single newsroom is making the same bet — that they would somehow scoop the competition in a lucky chance encounter. That’s an expensive bet.
Sadly, in the end, most visiting journalists covered the event by watching it on the screens at the media center. Some were at the Trump press conference. Some got to ask him questions. But in the end, everyone walked away with the same pool shot and same press releases. All for $25 million that the industry doesn’t have the luxury of spending.
Newsrooms don’t understand competition. Journalists want to out-scoop their peers, to land an “exclusive” (what does that even mean these days?). But the audience doesn’t care. They’re getting their stories off the social platforms anyway — and newsrooms are all losing their advertising business to those platforms. Who, then, is the real competitor?
Next time, leave your journalists at home. Work with the big wires — Reuters, AP, AFP. You’re already buying their feeds anyway. They can scale coverage; you can’t. Put together a proper discovery dashboard so you’re on top of everything. Collaborate with the platforms. Build a proper coverage distribution plan. Develop a differentiated point of view through better analysis.
But FFS, don’t blow $25 million by pretending to show up.
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