As newsrooms strive to strengthen their digital businesses, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the most successful ones escape the losing trap of “general content for the general public”. Instead, they focus on identifying specific segments of their general audience, understanding their needs, and arming the newsroom, so it can best serve them through high-quality (digital-first, print-later and better) journalism.

So, how can newsrooms get started with identifying and reaching new audiences? How can the audience(s)-first mindset help different departments collaborate effectively? How can you get started practically building products for these audiences? How are you going about deciding what publishing activities to do? Is your start point something along the lines of, what did we do last year and, of those things, what do we want to do more or less of this year?

If it is, then there is good and bad news. The good news is that you are not alone in your approach. The bad news is that you are approaching your planning the wrong way around. Deciding on your outputs should be the last step in the process, not the first. That’s the lesson publishers take away from Table Stakes Europe‘s challenge-centric and performance-driven transformation coaching programme.


The Table Stakes program teaches change management skills to people working in news organisations. The organisations that participate in Table Stakes undertake specific — and significant — change management initiatives, including diversifying their revenue streams, embracing new digital platforms and expanding the audiences they serve.

Table Stakes Europe is designed to help publishers drive digital revenue growth by focusing on audiences first. The term Table Stakes comes from the game of poker and references the amount you need to put on the table to play. And that is what Table Stakes Europe explores with its participants: What are the challenges in the digital market, and what do they need to stay in the game?

The key objective of Table Stakes is building strategic and other core capabilities in local news enterprises. The programme is designed so multidisciplinary teams (editorial-product dev-marketing-sales) can take ownership of the new methods and workflows essential to the foundation of a sustainable digital transformation in our new audience-centric economy. Supervised by an international team that has already coached a hundred companies in the United States and Europe, the one-year programme is built around a concrete business project. It is project-driven and performance-based to secure real outcomes at the end of the curriculum.

Through in-person and virtual group workshops, expert guest speakers and regular interaction with their peers in the programme, Table Stakes provides participants with an array of tools and opportunities to help set them up for success.

Want to participate in the next edition of Table Stakes Europe?  Find out more information on our website and express your interest in the form below!



Read Table Stakes architect Doug Smith’s essay on why publishers need to urgently adapt their news products using audiences-and-digital first strategies to match the public’s changing news consumption habits. You can read in-depth case studies and best practices from participating Table Stakes Europe publishers in our Knowledge Base and find additional resources on our website.

Learn more about recent success stories from Table Stakes Europe participants:

Switzerland: Le Quotidien Jurassien: Small daily turbo-charges its digital transition with Big Bang

Spain: ARA combats churn with data dashboards and website redesign

Germany: Heidenheimer Zeitung tackles newsroom reorganisation based on habits and concerns of local readers


Martin Fröhlic, Director Digital Revenue Network, WAN-IFRA

Valérie Arnould, Deputy Director Digital Revenue Network, WAN-IFRA

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