The “control tower” of the newsroom

Back when the printed newspapers were a medium that only offered news content by using text and photos, the newsroom had a vertical layout that was stratified according to the number of independent or shared sections that were needed.

Such line of command that executed the orders of the editor, under a scheme in which the writers, photographers and designers didn’t have a decisive role at all in the planning of the daily coverage, has changed radically today.

Nowadays, the planning of the daily coverage for both the digital and printed platforms, is done under a new “control tower”. This new control tower is nothing more than the so-called Directive of Audiences, a new and indispensable unit that has resulted as the umbilical cord that connects the newsroom for the printed media with the one for the digital media, being the latter the one that analyzes most data and hence allows for pandering to the public.

Since the line of command now has more of an horizontal layout, the custom is that at the planning table, previously reserved for very few executives, all responsible personnel for the sections of the newspaper and the digital structure participate, which brings together programmers, audience or “big data” analysts, video editors, TV and radio casters, publicists and marketers.

This very plan prioritizes the digital platform, because it’s the one with the widest audience, therefore it’s most wise to keep those consumers updated with news of the very last minute, done by monitoring the evolution of the facts and adding any new verifiable context or extra data and background, plus the usage of inevitable videographic resources.

That’s why the integrated newsrooms of the newspapers are destined to be for multimedia. It must be the traditional press, radio, television and a digital journal, all put together, each with their unique qualities, but under a clear unity.

Traditional journalists, as thoroughly as possible, have to be able to handle such instruments, but most importantly, they’ve to open and accommodate their mind for change, that is, to also think digitally and distinguish the differences in the communication and management of the contents of both worlds.

Above all, they have to keep two stand-alone internal clocks to adjust their work to both the pressing times of the digital sphere and to the quality bets of the printed press. And, finally, they must remain quite attentive to where the new “control tower” points, in regards of the paths and objectives of both platforms.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.