Newspaper survival tips stress multiplatform reporting

In “12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive,” Vadim Lavrusik offers a range of suggestions for “what newspapers should be considering in order to survive and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span world.” At the top of his list is “Putting web first and reporting from multiple platforms.” He explains:

Reporters need to focus on primarily gathering information and how to present that information in multiple formats: websites, mobile platforms, social networks and finally print.

The reason? Technology is changing the way people consume news, and though many are still getting their news through traditional print outlets, many others are shifting to get their news through various media, such as television, mobile phones, and the web.

Other tips focus on creating community, integrating real-time reporting and creating content for mobile devices. A good read with lots to get class discussions rolling.

The Journalist’s Guide to Facebook

Many journalists have Facebook accounts, but not so many realize that there are many ways to use that account for journalistic purposes. In an informative post, Leah Betancourt discusses how to find leads and sources, reach audiences and much more via Facebook. She notes:

Journalists and the institutions they write for are finding Facebook to be an important resource in conducting the reporting that they do. Reporters and media companies are using Facebook to engage with their audience, connect with sources and build their brands.

The post also includes a great deal of useful information on ethics of social media use.

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.

Failing newspapers lead to an emerging new trend: ‘hyperlocal’ news Web sites

Reporter John D. Sutter reported for on the new “hyperlocal” news sites. Hyperlocal is a term used for news sites that have an exclusive focus on a specific geographic area. There has been mixed success with these news sites, but

the people who run hyperlocal Web sites say they are optimistic about the future of the news business. They say they won’t be able to replace all that’s being lost as large news companies crumble but say they are excited about the fact that they’re able to offer something new — at least for the moment.

One big problem being faced is that of funding. News on the internet is free. Sutter writes that major news organizations rely mainly on advertising. Even though some hyperlocal sites are made up of a group of volunteers active in the communities, editors and founders of the new online news publications are looking for ways in order to receive funds, such as nonprofit organizations, ads and readers.

“‘… [news is] not going to go away, it’s just going to come into a new form,’ said Jason Barnett, executive director of, a site that largely covers Minnesota politics.”

Using online video to create communities

Many people shown an interest in making videos or short films that help to inspire viewers about salient topics. The people are extremely passionate about getting these messages across to viewers some are willing to take time away from their day job. Mindy McAdams writes on her Teaching Online Journalism blog that “Jenny Douglas is another person who’s working for love, not money. KarmaTube is a site dedicated to finding videos that inspire.”
With the growth of the Internet, people find it easier to get meaningful points across to viewers. The Internet allows the video makers to collaborate and share interests with one another. Therefore, it is easier for people sharing common interests to promote what they believe to viewers.