Is Gannett blowing up the newsroom or just handing out new business cards?

Everyone is a bit excited about the Gannett thing.

Me? Not so much.

I know it’s a big deal that an extravagantly large news organization has announced they’re going to blow up the newsroom, re-imagine it as an “information center,” and start calling the editors the “Digital” desk, but frankly, I’ve seen good memos and earnest plans for radical online development before.

If Gannett wants to successfully execute on this plan, the company needs to do more than hand out new business cards and blogs to everyone in the newsroom.

It’s going to take freshly-trained employees who know their way around the tools of multimedia, content management systems, and how to evangelize in the newsroom. It’s going to take a sea-change of attitude in some papers, and it’s going to take time.

So, I’ll save my excitement about this until I see a handful of papers make the switch with a positive outcome. If they can successfully reconfigure themselves, still get the morning paper out, and keep the troops happy, I’ll be taking notes the whole way. (Did I hear that Fort Myers is one of the pilot projects? Hard to tell from the Web site. Lots of content, but I can’t see the organization behind it from this side of the screen.)

In the meantime, Jack Lail, managing editor for multimedia at the Knoxville News-Sentinel, pulls together the crucial links for those trying to get their heads around the Gannett news.

Disclosure: No, I don’t work for a Gannett paper, but I’d love to hear from folks who do. Drop a comment or an e-mail, and let me know what you think of the Information Center talk.

[UPDATE: Joe Strupp at E&P has reaction from three Gannett editors running on the new model.]

2 Replies to “Is Gannett blowing up the newsroom or just handing out new business cards?”

  1. so are you ever going to tell us where you _do_ work, at this new job of yours?
    (or has it not started yet?)

  2. Anna – I don’t mean to be coy or clever about it, I’m just trying to keep my own blog off the search results for the paper I’m working at.

    But I’ve updated my About page.

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