LIVESTREAM: NextNewsroom conference – Restructuring newsroom management

Facilitated by Bryan Murley of CICM.

Chris Carroll, student communications, Vanderbilt University

Discussing Inside Vandy

  • They don’t have a journalism program, so they didn’t have to deal with traditional structures.
  • “There is no Web editor. It’s everyone’s responsibility to produce for the Web.”
  • “We sort of dismantled some of that traditional structure.”

Murley, CICM

  • Reverse publication – post story online first
  • “It seems antiquated” to break something in print
  • There are very few Web editors who become editor in chief, and that should change

Brad Arendt, general manager, The Arbiter, Boise State

  • Their six-step process: Story, path, deadline, communicate, edit, execute
  • Try to have a collaborative thought process in management
  • “The story is the key”

Dan Morris, adviser, The Arbiter, Boise State

  • They have had editors in chief who have been the photo editor, assistant opinion editor, opinion writer who worked on local TV station, etc. That’s made changing structure a little bit easier.

Greg Linch, editor in chief, The Miami Hurricane

  • I was just yapping about what we do. Blah, blah, blah…

Megan Taylor, managing editor for online, The Independent Florida Alligator

  • They instated a requirement for staffers to produce multimedia
  • Because they are independent, their funds are limited and that’s why her staff is two people
  • Everyone is still print biased

John North, The Knoxville News Sentinel

  • We crow when we can beat TV with posting online

Shannon Morgan, editor in chief, The Arbiter, Boise State

  • We’re trying to get people to tell stories in more than on way
  • 80-100 people
  • My problem now is trying to figure out how to restructure the staff

Kevin Koehler, contributing editor (online editor), Old Gold and Black, Wake Forest

  • Making the transition to Web, it’s hard to get people think of doing things and doing them well
  • People want to do it, there’s interest and people are excited, but they have to learn how it’s done
  • They don’t have a journalism major or any new media courses
  • “It’s too big of a hump on their on a pressing deadline”

Arendt, The Arbiter

  • We tried embedding a multimedia person in the section, but it failed because they were left out or ignored
  • It’s important to look at your deadlines for your output
  • They expect 2-3 paragraph piece recapping a game after it ends, then they follow up
  • If you run efficiently, I think students
  • But the kicker is, “How do you do it?”

LIVESTREAM: NextNewsroom conference – The Converged Newsroom

Facilitated by Hasting (Neb.) College faculty members:

  • Brett Erickson
  • Sharon Brooks
  • Kathy Stofer

Be sure to check out the chat feature of

Thanks to Megan Taylor for providing the hand mic.


“Leverage your skills. Everyone has different skills,” Erickson said. Then turn into a way to telling a good story. “Encourage them to innovate is what you want to do.” Also, he said, don’t focus on technology, focus on the story.

NextNewsroom blog – Randy Covington

From NextNewsroom:

Randy Covington, IRFA Newsplex director

Newsplex participants come in thinking it’s about technology, but “really what we’re dealing with is how we view stories. News organizations have been production-centered (print or broadcast), that needs to change.

Example of innovation:

  • “Star Car” facilitates getting the Shelby Star’s content online. It has a high-powered cell phone antenna and can create a Wi-Fi field around the car. It has a dashcam and can stream live. (They have a newsroom of 17 and all of them are cross-platform journalists).
  • “From our perspective, it’s thinking about how we cover the news” and leading us to the realization of how to build it.

Newsplex has an initiative to determine new roles for the “Full Media Newsroom”

  • Newsflow editor: Story
  • Multiskilled journalist: Content
  • News resourcer: Context
  • Story builder: Experience

People ask, does everyone have to do this? No, he says.

Multiskilled journalist

  • A media “generalist”
  • Understands different formats; familiar with various technologies and equipment
  • (I missed the last attributes)

Example: Heidi McGuire, Gannett backpack journalist, Denver

“Heidi really likes to shape and control her own work.” There are Heidi McGuires coming out of schools and you even have some in your newsroom.

News resourcer

  • Informatics journalist/editor
  • Applies news judgment with a thorough understanding of the information landscape
  • Chief editorial information office

Librarians/researchers: “We need them more than we ever did.”

In the past, the researcher was seen as a gopher. He feels this person should be a leader.

Story builder
“We’re going back to the days of the front page.”

  • Combines roles of print copy editor and broadcast producer
  • Develops and deploys integrated packages across media streams
  • (more)

“It makes far more sense to have the same editor for more than one platform.” But, “it’s not one-size-fits-all.”

He’s looking for editors who understand different forms of storytelling and can give it depth.

Newsflow director

  • Directs coverage across formats and delivery services
  • Integrates multiple products under a unified editorial brand
  • Ensures service to broad range of news consumers

Three organization models:

The Tampa Tribune – Tampa Bay, Fla.; considered the model for convergence in the U.S.

The Nordjyske Medier (Aalborg, Denmark) – was a dying newspaper and needed to reinvent themselves. They decided they would create a 24-hour news channel, like the original CNN Headline News. They have daily newspapers, two radio stations, Web sites, etc.

  • Editorial staff of 248
  • Five “media conductors”
  • Editors for each medium “refine” the content
  • Editorial departments serve all media

They would charge 1,000 euros for visitors.

Daily Telegraph (London) – One of the visiting organization was The Daily Telegraph.

  • Story components from the starts
  • Ownership
  • Three job titles: reporter, editor, producer. They eliminated all the other “honorary” titles.

They used to have 13 editors look at each story.

NextNewsroom blog, live feed – Saf Fahim

Posted 1:44 P.M.

Saf Fahim, architect, Archronica speaking on the newsroom of the future:

“I think nesrooms need as much innovative as the organization all together. The community is now part of that structure.”

“It is a monumental task.”

“The process itself that we’ve learned is also elusive and difficult because how do you find a method that finds what the future is going to be like, it’s virtually an impossible task.”

“Any dogmatic vision does not work.” Organizations say they want to build the best media group there is, but that’s not possible.

“One of the major challenges is the timeframe your organization put” on the project.

“There is a fund role for research and without that, it is almost a suicidal attempt to put your money into a project and assume” your going to have something for the future.

“We don’t want to draw a conclusion of what the century is going to be, what the century wants us to do; it’s just brush strokes, what’s out there.”

It seems that software is taking over hardware

Citing map on screen, he says Europe is ahead. “Europe was modernizing very quickly.”

Japan is also taking “huge strides to go forward.”

1:54 P.M.

The U.S. had a very different profile in the 80s. “Innovation was not really a central focus. It was a backlash to the 60s and 70s, which were very progressive periods.”

Mergers after the dotcom bust failed to produce anything of substance in the world of media

His firm worked on “Media Organization of the 21st Century” with AP. They felt something need to be changed to catch up with time.

  • Showing image of AP concept newsroom from 1993: “Here you have an early sign of how and where you get the community involved within the operation.”
  • There would be morning interactions with the readers.
  • No fixed seats, large screens. “The newsroom [would] become a totally flexible place. There really is no reason we found that you should be sitting in particularly cubicle or one particularly office.”
  • “The place where people meet is very hostile,” for instance conference rooms. The atmosphere did not give a feeling of collegiate interaction.” They wanted a place where people could truly collaborate.

2:04 P.M.

They discovered they needed some kind of training facility to teach technology, organizational skills and structures and feel this is going to work for them.

So, they wanted to find a school but did not find what they were looking for. They went to Columbia — they weren’t interested. “All the universities with a big name in journalism did not want to be involved in the project. Only the new and upcoming schools [were interested].”

Fahim was asked to be involved in developing the curriculum. It was eventually determined that text was still important, but they also conceived what is now known as convergence.

What resulted was the Newsplex at the University of South Carolina.

  • “For us, as architects, it means an intelligent building. … A totally flexible building that the users change, occupy” and that how they conceived the Newsplex plans.
  • They found deficiencies in newsrooms, such as lighting and acoustics. They’ve addressed many of those issues in the Newsplex.
  • Many groups from Europe and elsewhere have gone there to train. The building was able to accommodate them.
  • The desks are movable and can be rearranged. The publisher is nearby and not isolated, which relates to what Chris O’Brien said about transparency in his introduction.
  • They created a cybrarian in the Newsplex after concluding that journalism should not stop at news but how to inform society.
  • They added bookshelves for old times sake.

After Newsplex, Archronica worked on projects in Malaysia and Greece.

“The mission of the journalist has changed.”

Q&A (posted 2:25 p.m.)

Q: Do you even need a physical newsroom when a backpack could be a newsroom?

Fahim: Don’t have to have a building, but you can learn by association.

“There is that collegian interface we found very critical within the location. If you dissolve the organization into community, how do you bring that together?”

How do you build what you need without a physical structure? You need to allow for easy exchange of ideas, such as conferences — a place where people can learn from each other.

No physical newsroom: “That’s a very interesting idea.”

Q from Gary Kebbel: What is the one thing that you find the most difficult when approaching newsrooms?

Fahim: “Change.”

People didn’t like the idea of moving desks. We didn’t suggest people lose personal space, because that’s very important for the creative process.

They proposed a personal space and a team space, each of which would be used when needed.

NextNewsroom liveblog – Intro

Chris O’Brien, project manager:

What we’ve learned about The Next Newsroom

  • Integrated
  • Innovative – “Everything will continue to change very rapidly” and you have be prepared to change.
  • Collaborative – Cultural changes needed
  • Adaptable – “You have to be able to experiment and move things around very quickly”
  • Transparent – “I think, in the coming years, the distinction of where the newsroom ends and where the community begins” will blur.