Three Steps to Start Newsroom Change
What are small, incremental steps one can make to fuel change in their media organization? (Yes, we’d all like to swing in our newsroom, lay some boot heels on chests, hoist the black flag and change everything by the end of business on Monday — but the reality is, that ain’t happening unless you have a couple buckets of cash to buy a paper of your choice and a rusty sabre.) So what are some realistic, real-world examples of free (or cheap) ways you can help fuel change at your newsroom?
Given my druthers, this is what I’d do:1. Stop defining people by outputs. If you call a man a feature writer, he will write features. If you can a woman a news editor, she will edit news. Start defining people by either working methods, or by topic specialities. That de-couples their job from a particular style of journalism and opens the way for more experimentation. 2. Get out of the office. You have a laptop and a mobile phone. That’s all you need to do journalism. Get out there, amongst your readers and your market, and talk, network, record and report. We spend too much time talking to our colleagues and not enough to our contacts. The first technological shift journalism has been through – the arrival of computers – tied us to our desks. The second shift – the pervasive internet – should free us from them once more. 3. Experiment Cheaply. You can but a [Flip Mino](http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flip-Video-Mino-Black-2GB/dp/B0016BXRB6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1224445784&sr=1-2) for a little over £100. A digital compact for less than that will produce perfectly adequate pictures for the web. Open Source blogging software like [Movable Type](http://www.movabletype.org) or [WordPress](http://www.wordpress.org) can be had for free. Many web tools like [Flickr](http://www.flickr.com) or [CoverItLive](http://www.coveritlive.com/) can be used for free. Resist the corporate tendency to invest heavily and only spend serious money when the case is proven.
All of these things are the foundations. Everything else can be built from them.
Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.