They were published a month ago, but I’ve only just seen a picture of the much-heralded ‘hub and spoke’ integrated newsroom at the (Daily) Telegraph‘s new offices in Buckingham Palace Road. Ian Douglas, writing on his technology blog, defends the concept in the face of criticism in today’s Independent from a former editor of the Express:
There are myriads of small skills involved in writing a good headline or producing a decent story that are individually not especially complex but collectively make all the difference. These skills do not transfer well from print to radio or from video to column writing… Convergence encourages the wrong kind of journalism. The stuff that does translate well is precisely the stuff that we want less of, the journalism of very little value.
The joint commissioning process for print and online, the hub-and-spoke office layout with all departments within hailing distance of each other, the daily touchpoints creating rolling deadlines, all these things are designed to create insightful and reporter-led news coverage when it’s wanted rather than once a day.
I think both are probably right. Some old-school colleagues probably won’t adapt too well to the new approach. Some people just don’t have good faces for video, or good voices for audio. And likewise, those from a TV background will need time to get away from the rather pithy style of a video voiceover. It will take time. But the rolling news revolution has already happened, and it’s high-time you all got with it.
4 thoughts on “The multimedia newsroom: pro and con”
I think that was one of my points, and why Richard Addis is wrong. Print’s not going anywhere, and the integrated newsroom is about a multiplicity of formats being serviced by many different people, not focing people who are highly skilled in (for example) writing headlines for print to suddenly go off and become cameramen. Some will stay in print (it’s not going anywhere), some will work across the media and some will work exclusively online. The important thing is that they know what the others are doing.
True… but I think we are starting to see a number of journalists who are able to operate comfortably across media outlets, from the oldest to the newest. Nick Robinson is the most obvious example: good in a TV package, good in a two-way (radio or TV), and in my view but not apparently Iain Dale’s – a perfect case study of blogging.
The channels have converged: the Telegraph is a ‘broadcaster’ via podcasts, the BBC is a ‘newspaper’ via the web. The audience has ‘converged’ too: I watch TV, listen to radio and podcasts, and read web content all on the same devices. The professionals are following.
I’d suggest the journalists who can operate best across all outputs are the ones who will progress furthest. And perhaps that will be incentive enough?
I certainly agree with you there, but I still maintain there’s plenty of room for highly-skilled specialists.
Unfortunately, there’s a genuine generation gap involved, and so many “old dogs”, whether in TV or print, are still deeply reluctant to learn Internet 101. An example that comes to mind, one of the most gifted (TV) correspondents I used to work with, a very intelligent, smart, savvy, funny, good-looking person who’s traveled the world and covered wars and hotspots for most of his very fine career, refuses to even learn to paste a URL into his emails! Can he do this? Of course he can, but he still works under his Big Media-born and bred assumption/ego that the world is led to him, and not the other way around. Very frustrating, as his amazing career, experiences and insights could be now applied in some really fascinating ways… if he would let that happen. You can lead ’em to the multimedia, but you can’t make ’em partake…
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