Why you should subscribe to Nick Petrie's Evolving Newsroom

The Times's deputy digital head has a great new newsletter. Here's why it's worth your time.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Here's a confession: I'm jealous of Nick Petrie. One of the things I was looking forward to this year was starting an interview series on this blog. And then the Prime Minister announced that he was closing the schools and, as a father of primary school age children, I realised that the time needed to do those had just  evaporated. Pfft. Gone.

Meanwhile, Nick, the cad, has got his weekly interview series up and running, and it's good. It's called Evolving Newsroom, and focuses on people doing new an interesting jobs in newsrooms. So far, he's interviewed:

  • Karen Johnson, head of product innovation & research at Bloomberg Media
  • Ashley Kirk, visual projects editor at The Guardian (and a former Interhacktive)
  • Felicitas Sánchez, former user advocate at Quartz.
  • Anna Lombardi, a data and interactive journalist at The Times and Sunday Times

What's so exciting and interesting to me about this series is that it focuses on people doing day-to-day work in newsrooms, rather than the higher level strategic and business angle. In an era where we see people launching newsletter after newsletter aiming to be the “Stratechery of media” (which will be a challenge because, as this week's weekly article proved, Stratechery is the Stratechery of media…), having more people focusing on the emerging processes within journalism practice is desperately needed.

For example, today's interview with Anna is a really good look at both what working as a data journalist involves, but also what core skills are needed to really thrive in that role. For example:

From a technical point of view I think an improved proficiency in R and a better acquaintance with softwares to analyse and map geographical data (e.g. QGIS) have both proved really handy in my daily work.

But also:

That is why wherever possible we also try to place our readers at the centre of the story by shaping statistics around them: you may be interested in knowing the number of ICU beds available in all British hospitals, but you’re much more likely to care about the situation in your local one. No matter what platform or tool you use, it is people that bring your journalism to life.

So, if you're really interested in where journalism is headed, and how the way we work is changing and adapting, do head over to Evolving Newsroom and pop in your email address.

Back to the blog

But, wait. There's more.

Nick also has a blog up and going, too. His most recent post is a good summary of why journalism struggles to innovate, but also weighs well the costs of trying to be an innovator.

December's post was a corker, too, picking at the ideas of speed in a newsroom, and why that might not be the right way to think of things:

I think for modern newsrooms trying to create the best possible product experiences what we are actually interested in is learning quickly and making better decisions.

So, go enjoy Nick's work. It's a really useful contribution to reinvigorating the online debate about journalism practice. And we need that.

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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.