DIG IN -- Look at the categories to your right. We've excerpted many of the conceptual and operational points from the plan to allow you to add topic-specific comments appropriately. Simply click on the category, find an appropriate related post, and add a comment.
Chris Peck has sent participants in Journalism That Matters: The DC Sessions an email with three questions. To post your thoughts, click on any one of the questions below and it will take you to the appropriate blog comment form.
Over at the Online Journalism Review website, SlashDot Editor Robin "Roblimo" Miller has a series of very specific suggestions for the next newsroom -- emphazing the need for thorough database-driven calendaring, ad sales folks who think digital, camera-equipped reporters and **paying** citizen/free-lance journalists to make sure they don't just do their own local website. Writes Tom Grubisich: "Roblimo has so many good and practical ideas, you wonder why newspaper Web sites haven't been adopting them as they go through 2.0 makeovers." LINK: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/070724miller/
Over at USC's Online Journalism Review site, follow the discussion underneath Tom Grubisich's post about the potential for a network of hyperlocal sites. Tom is now web editor for The World Bank, and has a deep journalism background. Here's the cross link: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/070719grubisich/
A publication, but no presses. The Next Newsroom is a digital publication.At first, The Next Newsroom may have an ink-on-paper element, or a printed guide to the digital edition. Any print edition will have some digital sections available online as part of the subscription. This gives The Next Newsroom a pathway to paid online content. Any printing will be farmed out to others, or be based on address-specific desktop printers. The Next Newsroom will aggressively test new forms of delivery. These include Web only, home printers, and electronic tablets. Partnerships with technology companies appear very promising. Research on digital publications like The New York Times Reader and the University of Missouri EMprint edition clearly show a well-designed digital newspaper is far easier to read that a Web site. And, readers of digital publications spend more time with digital editions than they do on Web sites.
Commitment to a plan to build universal local broadband digital access. This access may be in place, or it may be part of the start-up effort. Wireless digital access for a significant portion of the community will be a goal.
Different approach to delivering content
And, CSOP members will be offered the opportunity to lease or buy two higher-tier digital delivery vehicles. These options include:
Electronic reading tablets. The Next News Newsroom project will contract with Sony, Fujitsu, or others, for leasing tablet/laptop devices that, in turn, will be leased to news consumers as part of a tiered service package. The Next Newsroom already has been working with the University of Missouri, and others, to develop digital reading software that creates a pleasurable reading experience on a tablet.
Address-specific home printers. The Next Newsroom project will work with Hewlett-Packard and others to develop a home-printer model of content delivery for those who want to print out and read content.The Next Newsroom will strive to provide universal digital access to news for everyone in the community. The plan aspires to either build or tap into a community-wide wireless broadband Internet network. News would be distributed to tablet PCs, cell phones, Blackberries, home computers, or via laser printers in the homes of those who want ink-on-paper to read with a cup of coffee.We would have no presses, no big rolls of newsprint. The Next Newsroom will produce a demand-distribution Guide to the News that would be printed and distributed at key locations in the community on a daily or weekly basis. The guide would be a primer for the digital delivery.
To become a reality, The Next Newsroom now needs new champions: in a local business community; among philanthropic and/or venture capital investors; from journalists eager to leap into a launch of the project.
Many of the talented people who have been working with the Journalism That Matters coalition over the last six years are ready to step up and help these new champions.
The Next Newsroom is ready to be shared with communities that would be interested in becoming the Beta site for a launch.
The Next Newsroom is ready to be reviewed by investors, foundations, other interested parties.
Of course the project can be revised, updated, changed. This is the creative dynamic that has inspired Journalism That Matters from the first.
But to paraphrase Elvis, the time has come for a little less talk and a lot more action.
The Next Newsroom must be energetically engaged with the community that it serves. The strength of these community connections, the willingness of the community to stay engaged with The Next Newsroom are keys to the project’s success. Here are four reasons why.
First, local news reporting priorities for The Next Newsroom will flow, in large part, from local interests and community networks. The better The Next Newsroom stays engaged, connected and plugged into the constantly shifting matrix of local networks and interests, the more likely The Next Newsroom’s content will be focused and relevant.
Second, much of the content gathered by The Next Newsroom will come from community contributors themselves. Finding the right people, with the requisite knowledge and interest in local affairs, will be essential to the success of the project.
Third, The Next Newsroom needs community partners. Every household in the community will be asked to buy tiered and tailored content. So these households are very real partners. But there are other partnerships to be nurtured. These include partnerships with advertisers, investors, local businesses, academic institutions. Relationships with these partners need to be strong, like that of a candid friend, and be able to endure inevitable clashes and differences of opinion.
Fourth, The Next Newsroom must engage the community in an ongoing conversation about the value and need for local news. This is an exercise in media literacy and appreciation.
Here are ways The Next Newsroom will strengthen its community ties:
Hire community-minded journalists. The Next Newsroom will hire for talent. And, it will hire those who understand the mission of this enterprise.
Promote and make real the Community Stock Option Plan. Again, every household in the community automatically becomes part of the CSOP. In essence, they are shareholders in The Next Newsroom. A key marketing and community-development effort for The Next Newsroom will be to make real the CSOP memberships. The Next Newsroom’s leaders will meet regularly with the public to identify the concerns, hopes and dreams that are bubbling up in the community.
Align with key community-building projects. The Next Newsroom is part of a community. Projects that build literacy, improve quality of life, or help those who have encountered difficulties, will be supported by The Next Newsroom by reporting, organizing community events, etc.
Identify and establish workable arms-length business partnerships.The Next Newsroom will actively seek a revenue-sharing link with one or more community businesses. The Next Newsroom and these businesses will work to establish community contributors to the news.
One model: establish a news kiosk in the business that serves as a community answer desk where citizens can post news, ask questions, and the newsroom will try to find the answer.
Partner to build a robust local wireless broadband system. The Next Newsroom will partner with the municipality, or a venture capital team, or mobile device provider, to build out a local WiFi network. This will be crucial to the digital delivery of the news. An example of how this might be developed might be OpenAirBoston.
Seek partners for tablet technology, home printers, or other technology. The Next Newsroom will look for technology partners interested in getting tools for reading digital periodicals into local households. The goal: build local capacity for easy, pleasurable reading devices that are closer to the newspaper/magazine reading experience rather than a Web site reading experience.
JTM-The Next Newsroom leadership reflects its orientation as a providing a service rather than feeding a particular platform. Here are key positions:
Continuous news editor.The CNE works on a 24-hour news cycle. The news is edited and published as it comes in, then is updated and improved through a combination of professional journalistic work and community feedback.
Community data desk editor. Tapping into existing local community networks built around topics of local interest will be a key to gathering and framing of local news. And the work of this editor will be essential in identifying those special local interest areas where the sales staff can sell tiered and tailored content. A key job function inside The Next Newsroom will be development and management of a community data desk. The community data desk editor maps local social networks, develops and maintains active profiles of local interest groups, monitors CSOP Web pages, and supports local search of news and advertising generated by The Next Newsroom.
Community content wranglers. With as much as 50% of the Next Newsroom’s content coming from the community, the editors who manage this content will be key players. These community content wranglers will identify experts in specific local content interest areas, organize community reviews, and make sure all levels of community content and photos are coming in as needed.
Special projects/niche products editor. The Next Newsroom looks for news-driven special projects that can be sponsored and sold every month. Often, these are created by the oldjournalists.com resources, and edited by the special projects/niche products editor.