Change-- Not Just for The Vending Machine
Though I'm off this week to burn some vacation time (in my personal quest to get Janiga to shave his head), I wanted to offer some quick thoughts about the state of flux that the paper and the business are in right now. While it's a hectic, challenging time, I've been extremely encouraged by what I've seen in the last few weeks.
When we asked for volunteers to help us change the city desk structure, we got suggestions from every department and every level. There've been so many good ideas, we haven't been able to condense them all into a workable list yet, but thanks to your feedback, we'll have plenty to work with as we tackle the problem of how to cover the news in this new environment. The news task force has already found things we can implement quickly to change Metro and after a pause this week, we'll be right back at it next week when more of us have used up this vacation time.
In a related note, I went to a day-long training session paid for by the company out in San Gabriel on Monday, along with Semhar, Ansel from LA.com and Josh. Another contingent of Daily News photographers and reporters attended a second training today and I'm sure they heard the same thing we did: video is going to be a major priority for the company in the future, so we're all going to have to think differently.
They were quite specific that this doesn't mean that we're all going to become like TV reporters-- there's much more leeway to have fun with the projects, cover them creatively and try different angles. And while some stories don't lend themselves to video, we're all going to have to look for online components to every story we do. If there's no video, we've got to find things to blog about, audio clips, links to maps and documents. We also have to think with speed in mind-- in the Internet news cycle, time matters just as much as content, so we've got to look at doing better work faster than our competitors and ways to manage the stories once they're put up on the site.
This is a new, unusual world we're in. A year ago, I never thought about video, nor did I worry about getting stories up quickly or promoting them once they went live. Now, we've got to do that on just about everything we produce. It will be a hard adjustment that will take us into unfamiliar territory-- but we can do it.
The response from much of the staff to this period of change has been phenomenal. As Ron rumbles through the newsroom, bellowing "More Cowbell!", you've given it to him. You're producing better content, looking at it from an online perspective and looking at ways to make things better, instead of grousing about how things used to be. That's exactly the attitude we'll need to thrive in the online world.
So thanks to everyone who's lent a hand in recent weeks and let's keep that energy going. The waters may be rough at the moment, but we're still afloat. Keep up the good work.
PS - Thanks to all who inquired about the online classes offered by the union-- I hope to have more info for you as soon as I return from vacation on Tuesday. Thanks!