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Change in mindset necessary to serve audiences April 4, 2008

Posted by Robert Rich in symposium.
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The move to a hybrid newsroom involves a change in the mindset of newspaper publishers to make information gathering more convenient for audiences.

Chris Lloyd, assistant managing editor at London’s The Telegraph, spoke during the “Hybrid Newsroom” panel and emphasized the previous process of distributing newspaper to thousands of audiences once in the morning but not later catered more to publishers rather than audiences.

“We embarked on a significant change program,” Lloyd said. “Our biggest fear was that audiences would come online and find a completely different product. So our essential aim was to make our online program something that reflected the same analysis and depth of opinion people were used to from our print newspaper.”

Lloyd said the transformation to a hybrid newsroom with multimedia journalists rather text-only ones took about 17 weeks, with employees being extracted for one week periods to learn the tools of the new media.

“It started with people being very grumpy on Monday morning and then finally enjoying what they were doing by Friday,” Lloyd said.

He said that newspapers will still be around in coming years, but that a change in mindset regarding the dissemination of information is still necessary.

“Change never stops, it is a continual process,” Lloyd said. “Fundamental to the change is our audience being served better, they are better served now than when we were two separate entities. Now they can get information 24/7.”

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