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Are most employees "news junkies"?

The reason I ask is because if you look at the volume of home page space within many major intranets given over to news, you would be inclined to think that staff have an insatiable appetite for news about their company, marketplace, competitors etc.

Intranets have a disproportionate amount of real estate given over to news, without any clear and proven business value applied to this news emphasis.
Having looked at hundreds of large intranets in 2007, it is clear to me that news content dominates without tangible benefit.

Why is this so?

  • In the early days, the intranet was a new and innovative communication channel.
  • Many of those involved with the intranet have a communication role and or background and "understand" news.
  • It is easier to fill the intranet home page with news – and much harder to drive new functionality and working process.

I predict for 2008 that communicators and those generating news will face increased pressure to demonstrate the  business value of intranet news. I also predict that many people in these roles will be unable to demonstrate this value and that news and news generation roles in general will decline steadily throughout 2008 – 2009.

How can I be sure?

  • Among the IBF Members running advanced intranets, there is evidence that the importance placed on news is declining and that this news is being replaced by value added online services.
  • In tracking the financial value of intranets, a recent IBF study showed that meeting room booking alone in one global organisation was generating $20 million of financial value – how much value is news generating – can it even compete?

For too long now intranets have relied on news as easy content pickings. If you are one of the people involved in producing news related content you might want to think fast because this practice is coming under threat – and for good reason.

Think about it – you are a travelling salesman, you access the intranet remotel – what do want most… about the new guy in Poland or up to date account information for the meeting you are about to have with your client?

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.


  1. I think communications practitioners are under threat for sure, but not for the reasons in this analysis. Proving the ‘value’ of communications is as difficult now as it has always been. That’s not a new problem. However, most business people would accept that engaged employees acting as ambassadors is a significant business benefit even though it’s hard to quantify.
    I think the greater threat is from those in the industry who fail to see that just ‘publishing’ news – be it on a web site, or on paper – will no longer hack it. Communications people need to engage in conversation with their audiences, and it is those conversations which will take the place of the news activities on intranets.
    Ross Chestney

  2. Interesting point Ross. I like the concept of communicators having to engage in more peer-to-peer conversations in future. What we are both saying is that news dissemination is “easy pickings” and no longer a sustainable role alone for intranet communication staff going forward.

  3. Why intranet news is under threat

    Paul Miller writes about the decline of news on the intranet. To quote: My prediction for 2008 is that communicators and those generating news specifically will be under mounting pressure to prove the business value of news in intranets. I…

  4. The business value of news: connecting people to people.

    Paul Miller has written a post on the IBF blog Why Intranet news is under threat that triggered some thoughts from my end. News on an intranet is very tricky. If done well, it will bring people together, trigger communication

  5. James Motomal

    I’m interested to know if anyone has replaced Company News with alternative content and what the associates’ reaction to it? Success or failure? Still unquantifiable?

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