Newspaper employees have to stop thinking about just their traditional roles and begin embracing convergence much earlier in the process.
This mean thinking of different ways to tell a story before reporting or interviewing, not after. It means bringing in Web people before a project is done, not after it is ready for publishing. And it means having reporters do more than just take written notes when covering an assignment.
Andy Dickinson says we need to think about convergence more seriously if we want to succeed (his first Carnival of Journalism post):
To make convergence work we need to make newsrooms behave in the way we are expecting the audience to work. We need to bring convergent behavior back in the newsroom, away from the point of publication. That means reporters need to take stills cameras out with them every time they leave the office. They should be recording every interview with a digital dictaphone. That doesn’t mean that they should be doing anything with that content. They should be making that content available, where appropriate, in the same way we know they should be using Delicious or a blog.
I think we need to change the mantra inside the industry to
Gather everything: Share
We need to do that well before we even think about where its going to go.
Dickinson has some good points. Most organizations still tack on multimedia at the end. “Oh, we have this big print package, let’s add some Web component at the end.” Or “the Web people can capture audio and do that multimedia stuff later on.”
That’s the exact wrong way to approach innovation on the Web. We have to think about the Web and multimedia content before and during our reporting.
Every print reporter should have a camera and get training in photo journalism. Those same reporters need to know how to work a digital recorder, in case an interview is worth posting on the Web. It would be great if all reporters knew how to use Twitter and blogging software.
Mindy McAdams implores us to quickly destroy all silos — or perish:
The TV and radio news people talk about putting their existing content on a Web site and teaching the kids to write “briefs” for the Web. The print people talk about writing and linking. The online people (always outnumbered, always out-gunned) try to talk about reporting in new ways — but no one ever seems to hear what we are saying. If the journalism schools could break out of this trap and “think different,” we could provide a great service to this field we all love.
Unfortunately, we are far away from this being reality.