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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

There's something wrong with this picture

On a similar tack to yesterday's post about when a story is 'finished' enough to go online, I was reminded while planning a sub-editing lecture recently of how lopsided today's newsrooms are when it comes to handling stories for web and print.

The image below is a rough snapshot of how many pairs of hands various kinds of stories might pass through in your average newsroom - from reporter through chief reporter, news editor, web editor, chief sub-editor, page layout, sub-editor, check sub, proofreader, editor, edition controller and so on.

From left to right:
Breaking news for the web
Web-only stories
Newspaper stories
Web shovelware
(where stories are readied for the paper and subsequently posted online at the end of the print day).

Hard to imagine anyone allocating resources like that if they were designing a newsroom today, isn't it.

On the upside: there's lots of pairs of eyes on those newspaper and shovelware stories to catch mistakes before they're published.

On the downside: there's lots of pairs of hands on those newspaper and shovelware stories to introduce mistakes before they're published.

Not to mention the extraordinary length of time it takes to get a story online using the shovelware method.

Time for a rethink, surely. A rethink, a critical analysis of newsroom processes, a redesign, re-training and roll-out.


Ian Douglas said...

You couldn't be righter.

Nathan said...

Interesting post. Something I have noticed especially in Stuff, there seems to be an large number of spelling misstales and typos. I generally expect better from professionals.