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Old 07-13-08, 04:16 PM
Lori Freeze Lori Freeze is offline
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Default 2008 Session - Challenges in the Newsroom

Challenges in the Newsroom – roundtable moderated by Byron Tate and Ron Kemp

For weeklies, it was noted by Ron that while the internet has provided the opportunity for weekly newspapers to become daily – and even hourly – it also presents challenges because it creates additional duties that someone will need to fulfill. However, it is estimated that maintaining a website requires as little as four hours per week, so it’s doable. The more current the staff wants the site to be, the more time will need to be devoted.

For dailies, one of the biggest challenges presented by Byron was training employees, which includes working with inexperienced reporters during the editing process – taking time to explain editing reasoning rather than just doing it and moving on. There was great discussion and exchange about suggested training opportunities such as News U (see the latest member bulletin for one example of free training, and visit http://www.newsu.org/), web training such as with Digiversity (Russell Viers), possible web training coordinated by APA, and conferences held by other groups such as Arkansas Press Women. There seemed to be a consensus that newspapers need training that is available on the newspaper’s schedule, and that is reasonably priced (free is preferred!).

I think we need a whole different thread giving links to training opportunities. There is already an existing thread about useful websites, but one specific to training would be great.

Another challenge discussed quite a bit was dealing with the general public’s ignorance of how the newspaper works and what readers can and should expect from their newspaper. One suggestion was (and some papers already do this) is a regular column dealing with policies and how decisions are made, i.e. “why we handled this story that way.” If not a regular column throughout the year, perhaps a series of articles during National Newspaper Week. Other suggestions were holding an Open House once a year, being accessible to the public in your office, and making yourself available as a speaker for civic groups.

I plan to start an editor’s blog on our website to discuss how the newspaper operates.
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Lori Freeze
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Stone County Leader
Mountain View
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Old 07-15-08, 02:08 PM
GlennMParrish GlennMParrish is offline
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Did my column this week on why we handled a particular story (one that got a lot of comments when it ran a month ago) as we did. Will let you know results.
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