How Would You Build a Newsroom From Scratch?

    by Mark Glaser
    July 12, 2007

    i-cfe648044f7d8bae621269e6d39369a4-CNN DC newsroom.jpg
    A lot of the brightest minds in journalism have been thinking for some time about how the newsroom of the future might operate as we move from legacy print and broadcast operations into a more converged, Internet-centric world. I’ve taken a couple stabs myself at how a “New Newsroom” might operate, both in a guest post on PressThink in 2004 and on a recent post on MediaShift.

    And now there are a series of discussions taking place called Journalism That Matters, where various deep thinkers are trying to literally invent “the next newsroom” prototype. Here is the blurb describing what they’re going to try to accomplish in Washington, DC, in early August:

    Our goal is to facilitate critical discussion on the future and sustainability of journalism. Our unique approach is to first assemble editors, publishers, writers, researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, public advocates, independent and citizen journalists for fast, focused discussion. We’ll then define the ownership, management, location and sustainability of a ‘next newsroom’ prototype in at least one U.S. community, to launch in early- to mid-2008.

    We’re going to answer this call: Pick an ideal location, and start a news organization from scratch, using the best-available technology and ideas, and without the obligations or burdens of legacy processes or infrastructure. Where will it be, what will it look like, who will own it, and how will it run.

    As much as I would like to be at the conference, I have other plans at the time and won’t be attending. However, I wondered if perhaps MediaShift readers could help me build one possible scenario for this “next newsroom” prototype. I’ll ask a series of questions for you to fill in. You can answer via the comments below or use the Feedback Form. I’ll then insert your comments into the blanks and then send along the final blog post by the conference’s start on August 7 and 8 (if we get enough input). I will credit and link the folks who contribute. So without further ado…


    The Next Newsroom Prototype

    Geographical Location?

    Physical Setting?
    [cubicles in an open room; virtual offices…]


    [professionals; amateurs; editors; producers…]

    Business Model?
    [advertising; donations; paid content…]

    Areas of Coverage?
    [hard news; investigations; features…]

    Community Interaction?
    [forums; town halls; citizen journalism; blogs…]

    [RSS feeds; mobile; print; broadcast…]

    Transparency and Bias?

    Power Structure?
    [top down; bottom up; combination…]

    Technological Innovation?
    [map mashups; micro-blogging….]

    There’s obviously a lot to discuss at this conference, and a lot for people to consider when trying to truly build a newsroom from scratch. We always tend to think about newsrooms in the same way as we are used to them, so it’s hard to really start from scratch.

    Anyway, I hope you’ll leave some thoughts in the comments. Even if you just have one idea that fits under one of these headings (or if you have your own heading) I hope you’ll share your ideas in the comments or on your own blog linking back to this post, and I’ll update it over time.

    Photo of CNN’s DC newsroom by Lee Hughey.

    Tagged: comments journalism newsroom
    • Alan Kania

      I’m not worried about what the newsroom of the future will look like — I’m more concerned with the content provided by that newsroom. Will redesigning a news room get us off the pop-culture insanity that has obsessed the American media?

      I know journalists in Africa who provide incredible journalism from the comfort of their homes. Unfortunately the state that controls the media doesn’t appreciate quality journalism and the reporter’s home is often ransacked or burned while he’s tossed into jail and beaten up for the duration of his six months of imprisonment.

      Convergence? Naw — it’s just a new way of bringing more pop-culture to Americans who don’t appreciate quality content.

    • A future newsroom ought to penalize reporters a full week’s pay if they use the phrase: “According to a recent study…”

      Truth isn’t grounded in flimsy facts. Truth is grounded on rock solid intuition.

      A much better phrasing would be: “According to recent collective intuitions…” or “The latest hunches show strong support for the view that…”

      We really need no more studies. Quote no more reports. Cite no more statistics. It’s time to realize that the truth it is not plastic.
      (see http://tinyurl.com/g9kql)

    • Brandon Diveglia

      im a kid who needs to build a newsroom props for a play… how would i do it?????
      P.S the name and email is fake!!!!

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