Commentary

Newspapers Will Need To Bring Back Their Newsrooms

This week brought a headline so startling that I had to read it twice: "The Daily News plans to close its NYC newsroom for good." That was the headline in the New York Post, which is usually quick to pounce on the misfortune of its tabloid archrival.

My initial reaction was the Daily News, which used to have the biggest circulation of any newspaper in the country, was ending publication. Instead, it's asking employees to clear out their desks and work remotely, which many people have been doing during pandemic lockdowns.

The newspaper's parent company, Tribune Publishing, also closed four other newsrooms -- the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, the Carroll County Times in Maryland, the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. and the Morning Callin Allentown, Pa.

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Ideally, the closures won't be permanent, and instead, are a chance for these publications to re-evaluate how much office space they need. Many other companies are making similar appraisals, as they either cut costs or consider how to maintain work-from-home arrangements.

Newspapers can operate virtual newsrooms with editors working from home and reporters out on their beats, but they also lose a chance for richer conversations among staffers, who never see each other face-to-face.

With most newspapers now posting stories to their websites around the clock, it's still important for them to have an editorial nerve center that can quickly post breaking news -- and blast it out in emails and text messages -- if they offer those services.

I expect the Daily Newsand Tribune's other publications to find a way to re-open their newsrooms after considering how much space they will need for more flexible work arrangements. Some people will want to continue working from home if it's feasible, while plenty of others will relish the idea of getting back to their offices after months in isolation.

2 comments about "Newspapers Will Need To Bring Back Their Newsrooms".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, August 17, 2020 at 8:34 a.m.

    They also need to get reporters in front of people, back on the beat, and drawing on resources for in depth reporting rather than just getting email and statements from interested parties. The reporting and writing at the major dailies has become abominable. It just touches the surface and is often published online with errors or omissions of facts, only to be corrected later. Sometimes.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 17, 2020 at 8:57 a.m.

    The business reality for most dailies is that they will become once-a-week hometown printed copy publishers, mainly on Sundays---where they cover local developments, politics, sports and other relevant matters in-depth but otherwise offer nothing more than a daily online version of headline news, culled from unpaid contributors, the internet, wire services, etc. by a lean and mean staff of digitally savvy"editors". It's  unrealistic to expect a return to the good old days of newspaper journalism that we once knew and still see depicted in the  movies of the 1930s and 1940s on YouTube or Turner Classic Movies. Those times are, I'm sorry to say, long gone because newspapers have lost their sense of immediacy to TV and the internet, plus many younger and middle aged readers as well as the support of too many advertisers. Revitalizing the newspapers' daily news function as many would like to see, myself included, will cost a lot of money. Who is going to put up the funding?Not subscribers and certainly not the advertisers. Will the Feds jump in to save newspapers---I doubt it---but you never know.

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