Tech is on the wrong side of the paper wall

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth


Really excellent read on disruption, journalism and company structure from Timothy Lee at Vox:

The problem with the New York Times isn’t with the existence of the “wall,” it’s that the paper erected the wall in the wrong place. At the Times, the editorial side of the wall only contained reporters and editors, while other functions such as design and software development were on the business side. This made a certain amount of sense for a mature technology like print. But it was disastrous for the web, because close collaboration between writers, designers, and technologists is essential to creating a compelling editorial product.

It’s an interesting read when coupled with Max Nisen’s summary of Justin Hendrix’s interview series on Medium with tech heads at publishers:

More employees than ever are bringing in technology, or expect the sort of features they use privately in their work experiences. It’s not just a productivity drain for staff to work to get around using technology they see as outdated, it’s the sort of thing that increasingly leads people to leave companies, or choose one employer over another.

I suspect some of these issues are at play in the problems shifting to mobile I blogged about earlier. One of the big battles that still isn’t won in most newsrooms is turning the tech team from a cost control/policing department to a publishing facilitation team. The companies that manage that have the best chance of making a successful digital transition.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.