| 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.
What should your newsroom be doing right now?
By Tom McParland
A panel of news editors and researchers discussed new strategies Wednesday for adapting to a future of constant innovation, including partnering with students and better utilizing emerging platforms and video.
In ASNE's "What Should Your Newsroom Be Doing Now?" session, panelists described how they "experiment openly" with new media, which can often cause problems for journalists and editors.
"Every single generation has grown up with a new form of media," said moderator Eric Newton of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. "There aren't unequivocal answers, and nothing is absolutely right."
Video has become a useful tool for news outlets, which have been successful in providing live election video feeds and featuring in-depth "explainer videos" on complicated issues such as fracking and redistricting.
"These are things that, if done well, will be of value for a long time," said Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab.
But, while video is in high demand among advertisers, news organizations still face revenue problems as they experiment with different uses.
"Video scares me," said John Geddes, managing editor for operations at The New York Times. "It's also an opportunity to lose a lot of money."
New platforms, such as tablets, allow journalists to push boundaries and reach broader audiences, panelists said.
"Tablets are a great opportunity to stop thinking about newspapers as one omnibus product," Benton said.
But the tablet still has some growing up to do before reaching its full potential, said Nancy Barnes, editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.
"We are still trying to figure out how to make the tablet a transformative platform because it's not right now," she said, adding that a solution may come in adapting the burgeoning platform to niche markets.
In an effort to expand their influence, many outlets are rethinking strategies on the social media sites Facebook and Twitter to direct traffic to back to their own Web pages.
"We want the best engagement to take place at our site," Geddes said.
But with social media still in its infancy, news editors and executives are still struggling to profit.
"We don't know enough yet,'" Geddes said. "We don't know what we want to do, and we don't know how to monetize it."
As the media tries to expand its reach and adapt to the future, it could find an ally in students, a group with which Karen Peterson, editor of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., has partnered to augment election year coverage.
Students, she said, allow organizations to expand coverage and to better tap into concerns of young people.
"In some ways, it comes down to treating these students somewhere between citizen journalists and a few steps down from professional journalists," Benton said.
Despite challenges posed by ever-changing technology in the industry, panelists agreed that he opportunity is worth seizing.
"Every year's going to be challenging, and it should be," Geddes said. "We could curse the times we are in, or we can revel in it."
Tom McParland 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 04 2012, 02:19 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.