3 Simple Factors Behind Newsroom Innovation¶
There are many aspects of successful newsroom innovation projects. Nowadays, you can find a number of very good guidelines with detailed checklists, project templates and tons of sound advice. But sometimes even great teams with sufficient budget, realistic goals, and the best intentions cannot make it happen. The reason is often very simple - the “us and them” and “none of my business” mentality within organisations. At the dawn of the digital era, the biggest gap was between the print and online sides of editorial. Today that has largely disappeared, yet there is often still a divide between the newsroom and the IT department.
How can this be bridged?
There are several basic factors behind successful collaborations between the IT department and journalists in the newsroom.
Welcome the new
The first and most important factor is whether a news organisation has a culture that is open to change and innovation. When social media first appeared, for example, only a few news outlets recognised its potential and were able to reap the benefits early on. Today, as new digital tools emerge, news organisations have the opportunity to discover more additional modes of storytelling and engagement with their audiences. But journalists need to be encouraged to play with these tools, especially those reporters and editors who aren’t digital natives. Any newsroom can foster a more innovative culture by providing time, space and a budget for creative experimentation.
Work across team lines
Another factor in successful collaborations is internal communication. You need people that speak the same language and, let’s face it, they are hard to find. Sometimes it comes down to something as simple as putting IT and editorial in the same room together. When a news organisations co-locates its IT people with working journalists, or even puts business people in the newsroom, it signals a shared purpose and common goals. People get to know each other, are able to talk, and can work out mutually beneficial solutions.
Focus on what brings you together
Finally, the third factor in successful newsroom technology collaborations is to keep the larger goal in mind. Technology can foster new business models and new tools and formats of storytelling. At the same time, it’s important to maintain the same standards of quality journalism in order to retain existing audiences and find new ones. Journalists and IT people need each other’s skills and ideas now and in the future to build the tools and stories that will support the long-term sustainability of the news business as a whole.