I spent Thursday and Friday at the NextNewsroom Conference at Duke University. Thanks to Chris O’Brien for coordinating a great discussion and helping college students attend.
My interest in the conference stemmed from a previous interest in exploring the idea of a “virtual newsroom.” I wrote a little about this before.
Due to some initial crazyness at the Gainesville airport, I was late to the show, so here are some links documenting what I missed:
Greg Linch posted the highlights of Chris O’Brien’s opening words and collected some excellent quotes from Saf Fahim’s keynote speech. I’ve been following Greg on Twitter and his blog for a while now, and it was awesome to finally meet him. We even collaborated on live-streaming and recording sessions on the second day. More about that later.
I did make it in time for Randy Covington’s speech on “New Roles in the New Newsroom.” I posted my notes earlier, but the quick takeaway was that the current structure of the newsroom is an impediment to convergence and integration between mediums. As examples of alternative structures he pointed to London’s Daily Telegraph and the Tampa Bay Tribune.
Next there was a panel discussion with Robertson Barret, Sharon Behl Brooks, Christian Oliver, Rusty Coats and Keith Hanadel as moderator. The discussion was a little disappointing, I felt like they kept drifting into different arguments instead of responding to the questions and comments posed via Twitter.
There’s video from all this at Ustream.tv.
On Friday, the second day, Greg and I joined forces (and equipment) to live-stream video from the sessions we attended. We had some technical difficulties, but it was really fun!
Session 1: We went to a discussion facilitated by Brett Erikson, Kathy Stofer and Sharon Brooks on operating a converged newsroom in the context of student media. Check out the video.
Session 2: How can the newsroom management structure be reorganized? Led by Bryan Murley. Takeaway: The Web editor needs to be high up on that ladder. I’m gonna point you to Greg again, as his notes are better than mine for this session.
Session 3: How to change from old news culture to new – led by John North, Knoxville News Sentinel. If we had come up with any answers to this problem, we could make a looot of money.
Session 4: Balancing work and class, learning and innovation in college media, led by Kathleen Sullivan. Ustream was crashing no matter what I did, so I switched to Yahoo Live. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save video, just broadcasts it. :(
The best thing about this conference was that after breaking out for different sessions we all gathered back together to share what had been discussed in each group. I’ve never done this at a conference and I thought it was a great way to walk out with as much to think about as possible.
So, what is the next newsroom going to be like? We don’t really know. There are so many aspects to consider, from roles and structure to physical space to technology. I’m still trying to remember names, Web sites, and ideas, gathering all my notes off of napkins, stray paper and boarding passes.