Last week I interviewed Mike Hill, Deputy Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, for an article on changing tools and approaches in local newsrooms (due to appear on Journalism.co.uk). Mike has some interesting plans on using surveys beyond the simple reader poll (since reported here), and experiences of the weaknesses of geotagging, among other things. The interview can be heard here – it’s around 10 minutes.
Guest Blogger Bas Timmers is Newsroom Editor at Dutch broadsheet de Volkskrant.
‘A newspaper is like an oil tanker,’ editors in chief call out in despair again and again. Changing the direction is often slow and difficult. But that of course just depends on whether you have the right rudder or not. Because the captain is still steering the ship. Yes, journalists can be quite nasty and stubborn, but mutiny is still a step too far for most of them. Continue reading
A month ago, I used the Online Journalism Facebook Group to ask readers to suggest what areas they wanted covering, in an experiment with bottom-up editing (the forum for suggestions is still open by the way). Megan T suggested “Rethinking the production of newspapers”.
After researching, conceptualising and scribbling, I’ve come up with a number of models around the news process, newsgathering, interactivity and business models.
The following, then, is the first in a series of proposals for a ‘model for the 21st century newsroom’ (part two is now here). This is a converged newsroom which may produce material for print or broadcast or both, but definitely includes an online element. Here’s the diagram. The model is explained further below it
Building on the strengths of the medium
I’ve been at it again. Last night I presented a speech to editors and ad directors at Trinity Mirror Midlands (Birmingham Mail and Post, Coventry Telegraph, Sunday Mercury and various weeklies throughout the region). Given that they’d been exploring digital ideas all day I tried to keep it light to begin with – so the linked Powerpoint below begins with a mock awards, with the more hard hitting stuff coming after.
The hard-hitting stuff consists of lots of pithy phrases – the headlines were:
- It’s no longer about content, it’s about services
- It’s no longer about publishing, it’s about communication
I talked about how the news industry is having to shift from a 19th century production-based system to a 21st century service-based industry, and how online advertising alone is not going to plug the gap left by dropping print revenues (a number of new business models are covered that may provide other sources of revenue).
And I tackled this common phrase that the newspaper is now ‘one of many channels’. I think that’s still a ‘broadcaster’ mindset, and that instead we should think of print as ‘one way of helping people communicate’.
And I revisited some of the elements from my Vienna speech about the strengths that journalism needs to play to: investigative journalism, database-driven journalism, interactive journalism, and multimedia journalism; and reader-driven forms such as wikis and crowdsourcing.
Here’s the PowerPoint. Comments welcome.
“Perhaps the hardest thing to do in the run up to the Daily Telegraph’s radical integration was to convince the paper’s staff. Lewis explained how in meetings his suggestions would constantly be voiced but most would be politely blown off. So he put all of his efforts into convincing his colleagues. He embarked on a worldwide tour, visiting the United States, Latin America, Japan, and Europe to learn about the best practices and initiatives in each place. He returned to London with some fantastic ideas.”Then he set out to convince the staff. He found the newsroom’s “angriest” employees, people that had realized the need for change in the past or had had other complaints ignored. When he got these people on his side, the rest of the staff paid closer attention and management eventually decided to heed Lewis’ advice.”
And in the same article Gannett’s Michael Maness talks about the processes of “media shifting” and “size shifting” “that are scaring traditional publishers.”:
“Media shifting is key with lean forward [engaged consumers] types; it means that they’re using various technologies to consume media the way they want, when they want. He used the example of Tivo, a digital video recorder which can be easily programmed to record any number of television shows that can then be watched at the convenience of the viewer. The major problem with Tivo is that it allows viewers to skip through the show’s advertisements.
““Size shifting” means that people are actually changing media to fit a smaller time frame. For instance, people will record a television program, take out the parts that most interest them, edit them together and then post them on YouTube. An hour long program can thus be summed up in 10 minutes if need be.”