Google headquarters
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Smart news organisations need to change their hiring practices and recruit "restless agents of change" if they are to survive and thrive, the founder of Google News has told the News World Summit in Paris.

In a keynote speech this morning, Krishna Bharat said the explosion of online news sources had caused "attention deficit" among users and news groups needed to become "content guides" and not just content producers.

He said: "In a world where innovation is key you cannot maintain the status quo - it's not a business model that will work. You need to change your hiring practices and you need to hire people who are restless agents of change who want to invent the next thing.

"The lesson for media companies is it's not enough to just be a content producer, you need to be a content guide. You need to rise to the top of the food chain and say (to readers): I'm here to help you.

"This is a profound change in the way editorial teams operate and I think it's a necessary one in order to survive. You need to make both creation and curation your fundamental activities."

Bharat added: "I am confident that looking back we will find that the smart companies that make it through this bottleneck are going to be smarter and more creative than ever before precisely because they embrace technology strongly.

"It used to be that we had an attention monopoly on which you can build a media business. If you had the monopoly to deliver information to their doorstep or TV set you could make certain assumptions. Now the internet has allowed anyone to be a publisher or a broadcaster.

"You've gone from attention monopoly to attention deficit - there is way too much competition for eyeballs. Users have come to recognise that following one source is not enough."

Bharat said the consumer definition of news was changing - and the most successful providers would find a way to "tie together" general public interest news with personal news - such as whether a user's plane is delayed.

He said news organisations needed to put journalism, technology and design staff "in the same office so they have the same conversation every day", adding: "This is completely doable and necessary."

Bharat also emphasised the importance of design and making "things beautiful, fast and tactile", adding: "On mobiles, people are literally touching your content and you have a commitment to make it gorgeous and fast."

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