Working in a converging newsroom is tough but managing that change can often be just as difficult. So (as was highlighted in a recent post) it’s a shame that more managers aren’t blogging to explain just what they do to try and make this work. So it’s nice to have people prepared to share the experience in an open way.
Cue Ray Hartley, the editor of The Times, South Africa. They are a subscription only partner to the well known Sunday Times brand and in launching the paper they have also committed to a new site and multimedia newsrooms.
For a month now, we have run a full multimedia newsroom with reporters, multimedia producers and photographers working side-by-side. We anticipated problems and tensions over who would make decisions in the field, who would report back to the hub and who would take precedence in interviews where video and writing were competing
And problems they have had. Hartley outlines two. The first is one that will hit all editors at some point in this digital revolution.
A reporter, who had signed up for our multimedia operation was taken aback when she was accompanied on work by a multimedia operator who expected to have equal access to her subject. She came back to the office and told the news editor that she could not work under such “unproffessional” circumstances as she respected the writers’ craft. We agreed and she left.
The second was equally as relevant to all who are working in a converging world:
A photographer interrupted an interview in progress to try and improve the angle of a picture (It was a while back, but I think that was the essence). We then had a stormy conference meeting to discuss whether this was acceptable
And was it? Go and read what they decided. You may not agree, but I’m guessing many would be glad that they didn’t need to confront the questions first.