Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Running the converged newsroom

When I speak to journalists about developing multimedia skills, I inevitably talk about the concept of the converged newsroom. I talk about how at Bloomberg we taught our print reporters to do television "stand ups" in front of an unmanned video camera. I talk about how at CNN our website reporters appeared as guests on our television shows. I talk about "repurposing" content for the Web. I talk about podcasting and video blogging and the tools of the standalone journalist.
Then I tell them to visit Lawrence, Kan.
Because no one understands the future of the news-gathering business better than Rob Curley of the Lawrence Journal-World.
If you're in Kansas, stop in and introduce yourself. If you're anywhere else, read this story about his appearance at Northwestern University.

4 comments:

David Shaw said...

Paul:

Timely post. One of my clients, Religion News Service, is struggling right now with whether to transform itself from a written-word shop to a multimedia news organization.

We face limited resources, and the natural resistance of the staff editors and writers, who live with the written word, but fear video and audio.

We have a lot of work to do, and your links should provide us with some direction.

Thanks.

Paul Conley said...

Thanks David,
One of the toughest challenges is getting people to stop thinking of themselves as "writers" and "editors." I try to get people to call themselves "journalists" or "reporters" -- two titles that suggest a broader set of skills. I also like the term "producer," which is widely used at most Web operations.
But whatever title they use, everyone who creates content in this era has to realize that a guy with skills in just one medium runs the risk of becoming a liability, not an asset, in the newsroom.
The other challenge is getting staff to think of multimedia reporting not as more work, but as better work.

Doug Fisher said...

Paul:
Good post. You might note that IfraNewsplex at the University of South Carolina has been using the converged model for several years -- it is the essence of its being. We use terms like newsflow editor, storybuilder, news resourcer and multiskilled journalist. They embody the ideas of new responsibilities across media. See specifically the New Journalists entry under the Concepts area. (I shy away from "producer," even though it is often used. Because of my TV days, it still has too much silo/old media connotation.)

Paul Conley said...

Hi Doug,
I posted something else on converged newsrooms today. This time I put something in about the Newsplex. You guys are doing very interesting work there.
Thanks.
Paul