Preparing for the digital newsroom

In the face of major shake-ups among print news operations, itor & Publisher columnist Steve Outing asks “what might a digital local news operation look like, and what tools and skills will be required?” Outing envisions smaller staffs, more bloggers and a community emphasis. The expectations for journalists will be changed as a result:

Here’s what the reporter/blogger will routinely do:

1. Long-form stories and features. But in this new environment, a reporter may do fewer of these because of other duties. And they may be in a variety of formats, from simple text and video to multimedia presentations, audio or podcasts.
2. Regular blog entries (basically short articles) through the day. The reporter in this organization doesn’t wait till all the facts are in when it’s a big breaking story, but reports what’s known quickly. Additional blog updates can be added as the news event progresses. (Again, don’t take “blog entry” to mean “text.” A reporter might post video or audio to the blog, as well.)
3. Instant updates. When relevant, a reporter will put out short alerts to mobile phone news alert subscribers; to an e-mail list; as a “tweet” on Twitter or brief report on other social networks to update the reporter’s “friends” and “followers,” etc. This can take but a minute (with proper systems in place to streamline the process), and then it’s on to the write-up for the blog.

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