Developing products for a changing market

By Jake Kreinberg

A product director for The Associated Press describes how the increasing pace of industry changes has altered his team’s approach to bringing products to market.

Editor’s note: At a recent conference at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, we asked Ken Romano, a product director for The Associated Press, how his team stays ahead of industry changes. To hear other perspectives from the conference, click here.

How do media companies build a culture of innovation?

Ken: The biggest things that we’ve done with our product team at the AP is really take into account a lot of prototyping. Gone are the days where you can do a year’s worth of research and requirements documentation and then go out with some big-bang launch.

The industry moves too quickly within a year — you can’t wait that long. So what we’ve really done is we take stuff into just little bite-sized prototypes where we try to get it to market as fast as possible to get it in the hands of our users.

And if they “no,” if they say, “we hate this” — which I have had many customers tell me, “You guys did this wrong” — we will just say, “You know what, we failed. Let’s start over, or let’s iterate on that and put out something new.”

But I think the biggest thing for us is just moving as fast as possible and making sure that we’re engaging our customers in developing the products together.

Jake Kreinberg

Jake is the text and multimedia product manager at The Associated Press and the former editor of Insights. He previously covered college sports as a reporter for AP and helped design its multi-year strategic plan. Have feedback about the blog? Contact us at

insights, leadership, tow center