Blog Index

Virtual variety served daily: the Journalism Accelerator cafeteria

Chicago Tribune building

Reflection of the Chicago Tribune building, September 2010. Photo by Lisa Skube.

Cooking up a project, especially when doing things that haven’t been done before, is both a creative and measured exercise.  As the game has largely gone digital, getting work done often seems like a moving target. What worked yesterday doesn’t work next week. In the print world, publishing was done once the ink was dry; in the digital world, content is just beginning its journey when it is posted. News consumers, formerly known as the audience, are now very much involved in how a story is built, understood and experienced.

It’s a lot of ground to cover in a day.

Staffing a digital newsroom to make the business work online is new terrain for a whole lot of really smart people working across all kinds of regional news, investigative, niche and local community sites.  The industry’s magnitude of disruption means emerging alternatives.  The reconstitution of the newsroom finds those who once held a specific role now spanning positions that used to be covered by a number of specialists.

We think the combined experience of the JA crew may add some practical value from other areas, like online organizing and nonprofit tactics, marketing and branding, mining social data to optimize content, outreach and building social currency.  Part of our service model is reporting out on what we’re learning and the techniques were using along the way—and that includes when we fail or when things shake out in ways we hadn’t anticipated.

As you read through these posts, share your two cents worth. Challenge our assumptions, offer up practical tips we may have missed, point out additional content others might find useful or additional context you have around the types of things we’re covering.

Our next post will focus on how the JA is tackling staffing to optimize our ability to be responsive to the needs of the JA community.

Producing work that is contingent on the success of the community served requires a different kind of thinking and doing. The way the JA team is set up is designed around a customer service model to deliver additional capacity to news and information producers combining threads across networks.  Our thinking on staffing at this earliest stage of the project is more of a cafeteria, than say, a traditional business or organizing model. Check back next Wednesday for the rest of the story!

Coming soon: