The Daily Record serves York County, Pennsylvania, an expansive region that includes 72 municipalities (with a population of about 400,000 people) and the City of York, with a population of 35,000 people.
Knowing that his readership was so spread out, Parker knew a traditional community newsroom wasn’t going to work.
People around in the region aren’t likely to travel to the Daily News’ relatively remote location in an industrial area of York, Parker said.
As I research community newsrooms, I plan to note the kind of stories are being produced.
Struggling with shrinking resources and budgets, I’m sure many publishers think it would be grand to think that a citizen journalist might sit down and cover a town council meeting – but is this really the case?
My gut tells me that the community would far rather review a new local burger joint than produce 750 words on a transportation committee meeting.
But that’s just my gut. I have no numbers to back this up.
And I want these numbers.
Put simply, I plan to measure (as well as you can measure journalistic productivity) these categories of content into hard or soft news.
Now that I’m in a university environment, I’ve been thinking about the skills I learned as a journalism student, and what schools are teaching students today.
Ideally, a student should graduate from journalism school with skills that prepare them to walk into a newsroom – any newsroom – and thrive. (These skills should of course be in addition to sound news judgement and an understanding of journalism ethics and the importance of responsible reporting.)
So here’s my grocery list of ideal skills for the newsroom newbie:
I teach a second-year ‘Fundamentals of Reporting’ class at Carleton University’s j-school – but often I’m learning just as much from the students.
These past three weeks, we’ve been running ‘newsroom days’ – students come in with a story, and then head out for the day to chase another, putting out a publication at 5 p.m. The class is large enough that we actually put out two publications at the end of the day, with students alternating roles between Managing Editor or desker and reporter.
This year, Facebook and Google played key roles in putting out our student publications at the end of the day.
Our newsroom at the Ottawa Citizen, like those across the country, is a tight ship. Everyone is busy – especially on weekends, when we’re down to basically a skeleton staff. Our weekend folks have to be able to do everything, and fast.
In addition to the rest of her work on a busy Saturday, Kirstin Endemann was responsible for The CItizen’s Twitter feed. This meant answering questions:
@OttawaCitizen hi! How long does it usually take to decide whether or not to publish “an emailed opinion” thanks