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Digital era changes newsroom

Written by Matthew Dunn
New media changes media landscape

Digital era responsible for changes in newsroom

It is undeniable that the digital age is changing the media landscape.

The global newspaper publishing industry is in upheaval as new devices for delivering digital content and broadband become readily available.

As new media rises to the forefront of the industry, companies are adapting and revolutionising the way the newsroom operates.

Australia’s own News Limited and Fairfax Media have witnessed a transformation in structure with a move towards 24-hour, seven-days-a-week newsrooms that file for web, online and newspaper editions.

The first big changes to the newsroom of News Limited surfaced seven years ago when they decided to get into the website “seriously” explained Chris Jones, digital managing editor at The Courier-Mail.

“It was when we went tabloid in 2005, that we took the opportunity to try and drive the sense that we cover stories on the website through the day and then put out the paper,” he said

Early stages of this approach saw the web team sitting off to the side, but over time the web producers were moved closer and closer to the central hub with chief of staff, photo editors and back benchers.

“The latest iteration has the website producers literally across from the chief of staff to ensure they are fully connected with what’s going on.

“They’re hearing reporters briefing the chief of staff, so they’re able to pick up on that,” said Mr Jones.

Reporters also felt the effects of the changing newsroom as they were expected to file for both paper and web.

Early on they toyed with the idea of having a team of reporters solely responsible for filing for the website, but it didn’t make sense logically, so the idea was quickly killed.

Helping develop Australia’s first ‘digital only’ news outlet The Brisbane Times, Fairfax journalist and blogger, Katherine Feeney, has also witnessed changes to the newsroom first hand.

“Technology has enabled more of a ‘live’ conversation between stakeholders in the news process, with news editors able to track breaking events as they unfold from the ground, and journalists able to synthesise and contextualise the information with their specialist knowledge, filtering the messages back to the newsroom,” she said.

Looking forward, both News Limited and Fairfax believe there will be impacts on how editorial resources are allocated with data tracking and analytics giving newsrooms the ability to develop predictive models of stories.

Image: Sucello Leilões Virtuais, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license

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