Paul Bradshaw on A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt1 – the news diamond

Thanks to Andy Dickinson for the link…

Paul Bradshaw nails it on the head after debating on the Online Journalism Facebook Group…

The strengths of the online medium are essentially twofold, and contradictory: speed, and depth.

New media technologies are able to publish news faster than the previous kings of speed: TV and radio. Think mobile and email updates. Think moblogs. Think Twitter.

At the same time, the unlimited space and time of the web, and its hypertextual and ‘pull’ properties, make it potentially deeper and broader than the previous kings of context and analysis: newspapers and magazines. Think Wikipedia’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Think the Daily Kos. Think hyperlocal websites. Think Chicagocrime.org.

Without a doubt the biggest contradiction in online news…depth and speed.

I often find with news organizationshave trouble conceptualizing their news as a product, and that the product must be completed, i.e. edited, fact checked, etc. before it’s released to their distribution channels. While it’s okay for a newspaper to do a final “cut for length” edit on the page during their pagination process, many seem determined to make their final content edits during that step as well.

That means the content is often sent to the web staff and then changed later in the print workflow. The mayor’s name was wrong, the third graph contains grammatical errors, etc. But the change only gets made in print, until someone calls or emails and complains. It’s a tough move to get to a point where you consider the story itself a completed product that’s ready for final distribution in your many and varied formats; newsletters, email, sms, web, rss, print, etc. So the web staff, or someone of the “other” channels gets content they’re not sure they can rely on.

Many of you are saying “duh…” But trust me, the newspapers spend a lot of time trying to find ways *not* to make this fundamental change in their workflow. That’s why the diagram Paul offers is so important…

Note that the article/package comes before the analysis/reflection step. Then, only after that is the context – which is delivery channel.

Read Paul’s full analysis on the Online Journalism Blog.

4 Replies to “Paul Bradshaw on A model for the 21st century newsroom: pt1 – the news diamond”

  1. Too bad there’s not a good system in place that treats the copy as one entity rather than duplicating – then edits in one place would apply everywhere. And if media-specific segments were tagged with the media they applied to, but still considered part of the same story, the editors could see it all together as a package, or filter it in the context it will be displayed in.

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to create a system like this? Oh, wait, we did, didn’t we Mark. 😉

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