Thursday, January 3, 2008

Moving Newspapers Into the 21st Century

Found via somewhere (Poynter, maybe) comes this essay on changing the culture of newspapers:

Continuing in the theme of changing the newsroom culture, let's also think about using our magic wand to make the most profound changes all at once. Howard Owens, director of digital publishing at Gatehouse Media, asked for this: "Reporters and editors would take seriously their roles as community conversation leaders, concentrating on getting it right on the web first -- web-first publishing, blogs, video, participation -- and using the print edition as a greatest hits, promote the web site vehicle. Old packaged-goods-thinking about the newsPAPER would disappear overnight."

Owens' comment hits on one theme that I've covered many times in this column over the years: turning news into less of a lecture and more of an interactive, two-way experience and conversation between journalists and readers.


Read the whole thing - I also liked the part about having journalists utilize FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking tools. I used to be skeptical of that argument, but I've come around.

2 comments:

Roxy said...

"...Even at the college level, where you might expect all students to be on board with the notion of a digital-centric, publish-it-right-now, multi-media approach to news, I still run into budding journalists who cling to the hope of finding a traditional newspaper reporting job..."

I think this is a big part of the problem. Who are journalism students learning from? They aren't taking classes from 30-year-old professors with new, fresh ideas to change the face of journalism. They are being taught by the old school ones who still remember what it was like back in the day to paste-up. They learn design by taking graphic design. They learn digital photography from taking digital photography classes. ...And don't even get me started on web and online formats. These multimedia aspects of journalism should be included in a journalist's education -- not just grammar, ethics, and learning the difference between a feature and a hard news story. Maybe if those multi-media pieces were a core aspect of a journalism degree, instead of a one-class requirement (if that? I don't know, not having a J-degree), journalists -- fresh-faced and veterans -- would be willing to spark change in the industry.

Dennis said...

"Who are journalism students learning from? They aren't taking classes from 30-year-old professors with new, fresh ideas to change the face of journalism. They are being taught by the old school ones who still remember what it was like back in the day to paste-up."

This caused the words "Frank Ragulsky" to pop into my head unbidden.

I know OSU doesn't have a J-school or even a major, but when the bloody Liberty has a web page comparable to the Baro, something's wrong.

The other part of this is that the core components - writing, ethics, etc - are not changing. So journalists are being asked to learn and do more and more.

Finally, this is one of the reasons I read Notes from a Teacher.

 
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