| ASNE's annual convention is the largest annual gathering of newsroom leaders from daily newspapers and other news organizations. At ASNE 2012, editors and leaders in the field of journalism education will gather for programs focused on "What It Takes" to lead the digital and mobile transformation of a modern newsroom.
Innovative newsroom leadership
By Robert Baird
Leaders of some of America's oldest and newest publications discussed the future on Tuesday.
The all-female panel moderated by "Washington Week" and "PBS NewsHour" anchor Gwen Ifill talked about digital content and challenges and opportunities of new media.
Arianna Huffington, founder and president of the seven-year-old Huffington Post website, said the media need to produce "more autopsies and less biopsies" of the stories of our time, such as the buildup to the war in Iraq and the economic recession.
"If mainstream media were ADD, the best journalism on the web is OCD," she said, because they "obsess" over stories.
Jill Abramson, appointed in November as the first female executive editor of The New York Times, defended the paper, which has undergone recent staff reductions.
Abramson said that the passion for journalism hasn't changed but that "all the news that's fit to print" doesn't just mean with paper and ink.
"Five years ago, we were husbanding really great stories for the front page, [but] we hardly ever do that now. . . we publish them when they are ready," she said.
With the discussion firmly focused on new technology, the audience gasped and even laughed when Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of The Associated Press, admitted that she does not use Twitter.
Discussing tech-savvy journalists and journalism-savvy tech experts, Carroll noted that many in the industry had been surprised that it took so long for talent to develop with strengths in both areas. She said that everybody had journalists who had developed tech skills and technical folks who had developed journalism skills, but most had expected students or young people with equal strengths to emerge at least a decade ago -- and that has been slower than expected.
According to its website, the 166-year-old news service has more than 3,700 people in more than 300 locations worldwide. Despite the challenges, AP is changing the way it presents news from text-only to a dynamic multiplatform media outlet.
"For us, the presumption that [every story] is a print or a text story" is gone, Carroll said.
The discussion was cordial, yet the competition among their publications for talent is fierce. Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, said the battle is on among news outlets for talented writers, digital producers and online technical specialists.
Which is why Abramson said she is "rapacious about stealing" that talent, trying to lure it with a reinvented Times website and apps that are "the envy of the profession."
Robert Baird is a student at the University of Maryland. He is one of several local university journalism students reporting live from ASNE 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Apr 03 2012, 06:54 PM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.