Newsroom reinvention update, invitation
July 4, 2008, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Challenge, Journalism, News Industry

We still don’t have a name. We’ve been called the “Gang of Eight” by S-R EIC Steve Smith in his blog. Perhaps we’re the “Great Eight,” as S-R videojournalist Colin Mulvany wrote. We’ve referred to ourselves as “Team Fix Newspapers for Ever and Ever” (the name is just a little tongue-in-cheek), the “Young Turks” or “NeRD” (Newsroom Reinvention Division).

Our task, assigned to us by Steve, is to take a tabula rasa and reinvent how the Spokesman-Review newsroom is structured, because the current system “no longer works,” as he said. I’ve tried to explain it here. Another team member, Andrew Zahler, has written about it in his blog. Mindy McAdams has referenced our project on her blog, “Teaching Online Journalism.”

Andrew summed it all up nicely:

This is exciting and scary as hell.

OK. But what the heck are we doing?

Simply put, we’ve been talking. A lot. We met for a few hours Monday and Tuesday. When we really started getting into things, we spent five hours Wednesday and six hours Thursday in the S-R’s editorial conference room. We’ve mapped out how each department currently functions and identified problem spots. We’ve thrown out small ideas and gotten giant overhauls off our chests.

Who are we, based on job title?

  1. Online producer (former copy editor)
  2. Business/city desk reporter
  3. Photographer
  4. GA multimedia producer/online developer (former photographer)
  5. Editorial assistant
  6. Night-side news copy editor
  7. Sports copy editor/alternative weekly designer
  8. Sports multimedia producer/sports reporter (former city desk reporter)

It’s a well-rounded group, but it’s not possible to get every viewpoint in the newsroom (which is precisely why we’ve opened up the floor to everybody). And, because we’re not looking to operate in a Cone of Silence, I wouldn’t mind hearing any more ideas.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jeez. Some serious young-hating on my blog (five comments of it) from Wenalway. Did you recently get laid off or something?

Either post something constructive or go away.

Comment by Nick Eaton

Elevating the discussion, one unreasoned troll at a time. Looks like you got indirectly wrapped up in the Jessica DeSilva imbroglio, Eaton.

Comment by tor

A little research on Wenalway indicates that he’s been banned from posting on a wide variety of sites. You seem to have attracted his ire — ignore him.

Comment by beach

… or her.

Comment by beach

Just so some of these comments make sense:

I had a troll on here called Wenalway who posted every three hours to point out that I had not responded to him (or her). The biggest weapon Wenalway seemed to have was the phrase “wholly unqualified young journos,” which appeared in every comment and got a little old.

I marked all of the comments as spam. Wenalway was not contributing to an intelligent discussion.

Comment by Nick Eaton

Fascinating, though it might help if the advertising department, circulation and administration were doing the same?

Comment by Sgt. Pepper

I’m not a young journo. I have almost 30 years working in newspapers. I work in a newsroom at a large NYC metro newspaper and am surrounded by lots of Wenalway’s that are desperately trying to a) ignore that whole internet thing or b) reinvent their work places to look just like they did before this whole internet thing messed them up.

Unfortunately, some of those Wenalways at my place are rather up in the food chain. Some days it feels like my whole career is swirling the toilet and all that saves me is that the guy supposed to pull the handle can’t remember where it is.

Perhaps you should simply call your group Mr Gumby. You may not remember Monty Python’s Flying Circus (here I am demonstrating my age) but he and his partner (also named Mr Gumby — there is apparently an entire family) tried to knock down a brick wall with their heads. Memorable line: “My brain ‘urts. I’ve got a piece of brain stuck in me ‘ead.”

On second thought, don’t name your group Mr Gumby, just set up a script hat substitutes Mr Gumby for Wenalway every time he/she submits a post.

Comment by Evans

[…] Besides Buzzmachine, good conversations were occurring at Mindy McAdams blog, and many others (like Nick Eaton’s where he is giving readers a first-hand look at the process for change at The Spokesman-Review). It […]

Pingback by Newspapers and Disruptive Innovation « Black, Blue and RED all over

[…] Nick is a part of his group that is trying to reinvent the Spokesman newsroom, and their report is due out tomorrow. I am excited to read that. […]

Pingback by Long post re: the future « Not For Attribution

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