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True story

A quick post before I head off to work.

In a meeting yesterday, one of the older (possibly oldest?) members of the assembled group brings up this off-topic point:

“Has there ever been any consideration given to putting the online folks in the newsroom? I know this building is old and doesn’t suit itself well to that, but it just seems like being close together there’d be more synergy and collaboration.”

I was both intrigued and excited to hear someone else thinking like this.

But the idea was shot down almost as quick because other areas of the paper also utilize the online dept. (which is currently a floor above the newsroom) and because the online people are more techies and personalities don’t mesh with the word folks in the newsroom. True story. I can’t remember the exact words, but those were the reasons.

At least we do work a lot with the online department, and are probably more aggressive and progressive in that area than many papers our size. But still. Ugh.

5 Responses to “True story”

  1. Josette Says:

    I ran into a similar editorial/online wall when I worked at my campus newspaper last semester. It’s a difficult barrier to break, especially with logistical and space issues. Hopefully synergy will come to you sooner than later.

  2. Melissa Worden Says:

    “… the online people are more techies and personalities don’t mesh with the word folks in the newsroom.”

    This makes me so mad. (I know these are their words, not yours.)

    And I’ve heard several times that I’m not a “real journalist.” Excuse me? (Never mind the fact that I have the education and print experience.) I write, edit and design stories. I decide the best news placement. I follow, sift through and present breaking news. How am I not a real journalist?

    True, some small newspapers may have a true “Webmaster” who works with only code. But we HAVE to get past an us vs. them mentality.

    Bravo to you for helping to bridge that divide.

  3. Good reads for 10.13.07 : the x degree: exploring and redefining multimedia storytelling Says:

    […] >> Online producer = journalist. Really. If we EVER want our news organizations to survive, we have to stop this us vs. them outlook. Meranda Waitling says one of the reasons the online department at her newspaper isn’t in the newsroom is “because the online people are more techies and personalities don’t mesh with the word folks in the newsroom.” (Words of others at her paper, not hers.) […]

  4. Meranda Says:

    Melissa — Trust me, I, too, was surprised to hear the reasoning. I understood the part about advertising also heavily using online. And I would have understood if they’d said there is no more room in the newsroom for anyone else (we’re cramped as it is in a too small space with too many people and departments). But I couldn’t even respond to this, and I wished one of the online guys (I know you’re sensitive to that, but they’re all men at my paper) had been there to help me out. I think it’d be great to have them around so when one of us has an idea or goes, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” They’re right there already talking about how it could be done. Plus, then I’d get to work with them more. Because I see myself as striding that line that supposedly separates us as word folks or techies. I’m a bit of both, and I like it that way and think that’s what journalists should be.

  5. Howard Owens Says:

    I don’t think moving the online department is going to necessarily help the newsroom evolve/change.

    If it can’t change on its own, the physical proximity of the nerds won’t improve matters.

    The newsroom needs to change itself.