Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pensacola News Jammies

(Above: Stephan Sharkansky, recently named a "best blogger in Seattle"
seen here in his working pj's and bathrobe)

Media giant Gannett Corp., publisher of the Pensacola News Journal and 90 other daily papers, announced the day before the congressional elections that it is shifting "all of its newspapers to 24-hour converged newsrooms."
The Gannett initiative, titled the "Information Project," is requiring each newsroom to submit a plan for a fully 24-hour converged newsroom by mid-November, editors said. Most will be implemented by next May.

Three Gannett papers -- the Des Moines (IA) Register, The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla. -- have been implementing the approach in recent months as test sites.

Des Moines editor Carolyn Washburn said the changes have included more online databases, from election information to local events calendars, with added staff as well. "The biggest challenge has been work flow," she told E&P. "Everyone is trying to figure out how to balance [demands]."
Gannett's corporate bean-counters doubtless expect the innovations will cut expenses by producing smaller hard-copy papers and heftier, more up-to-date web sites.

More haste, less filling. Exactly like a blog.

According to Wired News, a closely related initiative is Gannett's plan to "use crowdsourcing methods to put readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers and researchers in large, investigative features." The full crowdsourcing memo has been published here.

"Crowdsourcing" is boardroom-speak for "volunteer labor." Again, just like many blogs.

Yet another dramatic change will be in the working hours of journalists:
At the Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, N.J., Executive Editor Charles Paolino predicted an earlier workday for many staffers. "Most activity now is 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, but I can see a few people being here quite early in the morning," he said. "One of the biggest changes will be organizing when we go to work."
Exactly like the blogs.

We're predicting that before you know it the dress code at the Pensacola News Journal will be changing, too. If the reporters and editors who are left after the next round of staff cuts will be expected to newspaper less, blog more, and work all hours of the day and night, they might as well do it in their jammies and bathrobes at home -- just like all the other bloggers.

From there, it's only a short step to paying journalists the same as bloggers -- nothing. That ought to make Gannett's Wall Street investment bankers happy. And that's all that counts in the world of journalism these days, right?

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