Tag Archives: newspapers

Restructuring the newsroom

4 Apr

Radical changes in the media landscape and how news organizations are dealing with these changes has resulted in many turning to the idea of a complete overhaul of the current system.

In response to an essay by Dean Starkman called “Confidence Game,” NYU professor Clay Shirky asserted that the experiments of today are paving the way for systems to be in place for later developments about how news outlets are organized. The best way news organizations can cope with the dynamism of their own industry is to embrace the ideals of these changes. Digital means quick, and daily newspapers that have become accustomed to filtering news through an entire workday must adapt to meet the expectations of an evolving audience.

“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.” — Marshall McLuhan

Institutions like The New York Times could not have survived today by resting on their laurels; they have fluidly accepted the shifting landscape. Outlets must be constantly aware (“constant vigilance” for all you Harry Potter fans) and thinking — an idle mind is the lazy journalist’s workshop. Instead of succumbing to “inevitable” changes, media should consider all the possibilities of how to incorporate the new ideals of the public to best suit their own organization.

I Googled "constant vigilance" and this is what came up.

Even in college, new age media has been rivaling long-standing local print media institutions. Small news teams relying on outside help through crowdsourcing are able to cover a wide array of subjects and events through a dedicated, engaged readership that the larger staffs who are still spread so thin on a daily basis are struggling to keep up. Journalism students now are encouraged to not only blog and use all sorts of online media, but to blog about and explore this new technology as well.

What really needs tweaking is how two viewpoints like Starkman’s and Shirky’s hold completely reasonable amounts of water. Starkman’s plea to reinvent old organizations instead of forming new ones can be combined with the approach bloggers have taken to overtake Old Reliables. What the media industry needs is a steady balance of both reinventing old favorites and embracing the fresh approach of online outlets generally run by a digitally-savvy younger generation.

Newspapers must embrace change to stay afloat

8 Feb

New media often encourages the notion that the Internet is the new frontier, and newspapers have been left in the dust. Despite the popular view that newspapers have been rendered obsolete by social media and more hip means of news gathering, some polls indicate that readership in small cities is still booming, and newspapers are still heavily relied upon for local news (about 81 percent). This is especially applicable to an older, more educated demographic that reads non-daily papers. These readers have also been dedicated to a particular publication for an average of 25 years.

On the flip side, actual newspaper revenue is at an all-time low after plummeting about 44 percent from 2006 to 2009 alone. In spite of media giant executives’ seemingly unethical personal finance practices, the downsizing of budgets, massive layoffs and sharp decline in stock clout may not be the fault of poor leadership. Gannett and The Tribune Company, among others, have suffered greatly both in part from the economic downturn and lessened newspaper reliance and circulation on a national scale.

The newspaper industry may be severely scaled back compared to its prior glory days, but it has also been quick to adapt, even with a few hiccups along the way. Whether you agree or are opposed to embracing the new media revolution, newsrooms across the country have begun to create specific protocols for these changes, including expanding their social media presence, reaching out to audiences directly and creating some form of ethical standards.

Although some papers are putting a halt on print circulation, others have opted to embrace the wave of the Internet era and have seen success in hosting their news both online and in print. The advent of social media could, in theory, replace newspaper staples like classifieds, but good quality news is good quality news and will always be in high demand. However, how people fulfill this need may be harmful to the traditional news industry itself. Many attribute the decline of old-fashioned media methods to news aggregation and content farming websites, which are now wildly popular for those who want concise news tailored to specific topics of interest.

With these adaptations, however, comes the price of a greatly diminished audience, but not necessarily a diminished readership. A wide demographic of people may still continue to read and be exposed to a news product, but the Internet and new media have made it possible for them to contribute their own ideas and put their own journalistic foot forward to the point where they are no longer a passive member of society waiting to be spoon-fed information. They go out and make it. Generally speaking, this is excellent for the general population — but is it good for newspapers as an industry?