Jun 7th, 2007 @ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5 lessons learned in my first week in a real newsroom

Now that my first week is nearly up at my internship, I can say that my mind has been blown in more than one way.  Some random observations:

Its tough.  I know some of you that already may be working in a newsroom may be thinking “dumb whippersnapper finally gets it”.  But I’m more referring to the multiple platforms each story must be published on.  Even a usually multimedia-friendly Editor confessed his frustration at the fragmentation of news delivery systems.  While I love online media, it made me jealous of the days when you could just worry abou tthe newspaper.  As a journalist that may be easier, but todays method is better for the consumer.  And thats what matters.

No one knows about young people’s online news habits.  As part of my team’s objective to learn what younger people want we hit the research archives, online articles, and even took to the street handing out surveys.   It is incrediably difficult to find any existing studies that say any more than “young people like the internet”.  People are also too quick to dismiss young people as Daily Show watching hippies who don’t care about the world.

Young people are all over the radar.  Some preliminary results from the research tell me maybe there is a good reason for all of ambiguity in young people’s news habits.  People in their early twenties are all over the place in what topics they read and habits they practice.  Its easy to just look at your friends (read: journalists) and draw a conclusion, but when you interview those not like you, the perspective changes drastically.

I’m impressed by the way an entire newsroom is adapting to online distribution.  Check out delawareonline.com and see the features like a video newscast and a constantly updating news feed.

Organization has a lot to do with any good idea that comes out of media.  Because the news environment favors a more niche approach, I am beginning to think that the smaller the team that works on an idea/project the better.  The more hurdles something has to go through the more watered down the idea will be.

I’ll be back with more observations as well as a break down on the upcoming Temple News revamp we’re planning.

…If my head doesn’t explode first.

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