Building the Modern Newsroom

There is a quote that very accurately describes the environment that news organisations operate in:

Change will never be this slow again.

The quote is actually taken from a marketing journal, but journalism and marketing now share more of the same challenges and opportunities than ever before.

A major contributor to the accelerating pace that the quote describes is of course the fast pace of technology development. This exponential growth of processing power has led to two macro-level developments that will have a fundamental impact on how news content is produced and consumed.

Analytics – On the supply side it is the ability to collect, store, and process huge amounts of data; also known as Big Data or Analytics. Using data, journalists and editors can make more informed decisions about what content will work and how that content should be presented. Even though data will never be the absolute truth to follow in all situations, successful organisations will need to know how to make use of the insights it can provide to stay ahead of the competition.

Mobile – On the demand side the increasing dominance of mobile is undisputed and has an impact on the format of the content as well as how, and when, it is consumed. News organisations need to adapt to this reality as the majority of the audience moves away from watching the daily 9 o’clock news broadcast and now expects constantly updated and relevant news.

Making the most of data and analytics needs to be an integral part of story creation in any modern news workflow. Data needs to be at the start and at the end of the process as the content is refined and data from publishing platforms and internal systems is used to inform how content and processes can be improved.

Data needs to be at the start and at the end of the process.

Modern newsroom tools should support this entire workflow, from analysis and planning through content creation and all the way to multi-platform publishing.

Traditional newsroom tools have only dealt with finalising and publishing content and then usually only to one platform; for example TV, radio or the web.

Tools for the future newsroom need to work across platforms and be agile enough to allow the news organisation to try new models. In today’s news environment publishing platforms may come and go within the space of a year.

Publishing platforms may come and go within the space of a year.

Working across platforms also means that the concept of the news story needs to be updated. The story is no longer simply an article or a script but needs to be a whole topic. The topic is a collection of events that form a single narrative over time that all content can be linked to so that images, text, video and audio all become easily discoverable.

The story is no longer simply an article or a script. It is a collection of events that form a single narrative over time.

The topic may only exist for a single day, or run for several months. Doing this means the focus is shifted from creating single articles or video packages and focuses on creating engaging narratives. Engaging narratives that audiences want to come back to.

Peter Henebäck