Teaching Examples

Thinking smarter about online
January 17, 2007, 2:50 pm
Filed under: journalism, newspapers, online

ZDNet posted a Reuters story about The Washington Post’s efforts to integrate its two separated newsrooms (also known as “A River Runs Through It”):

Starting in January, print editors will “help us at the Web site and at the paper think smartly about more three-dimensional ways that you can present that news,” Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said….

Web news also requires expertise in updating breaking stories through the day, drawing attention to human interest or feature stories as well as ensuring reporters make it a priority to add video, audio or commentary to the page.

I feel a bit of skepticism toward this idea (admittedly, I don’t have all the details). You’re going to ask the editors in the print newsroom to help the online editors “think smartly” about online?

I’m not saying it’s impossible — but isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

Why not get the online editors to help the print editors “think smartly” about online?

(Via Seth in my del.icio.us network.)

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2 Comments so far
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With the print editors, come the reporters. Maybe not all of them, but if you want reporters from the print side fired up to do online stuff, you need the print editors’ buy-in.
In Roanoke, we use the integrated model. It hasn’t been the smoothest ride, but I’d argue that we wouldn’t be as far along as we are without pushing the print editors to do more online. The result? More breaking news on the site; better buy-in on multimedia projects (not quite there yet, but getting warmer) and more two-way input on what would help make the story work better in both the paper and on the site. Not saying it’s for everyone — and it’s taken several years and lots of meetings and memos to get to this point — but it can work.

Comment by John Jackson

Thanks, John. I certainly think the print editors need to do more online (in all newsrooms) — but should they call the shots for the Web site?

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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