Cross-media newsrooms in Germany (07.2007)


Schantin, Dr. Dietmar; Juul, Torben; Meier, Klaus (Hrsg.)

Across the globe, newspaper publishers have begun to adapt their newsrooms to the new demands being placed on them as a result of changes in reader behaviour and digital possibilities. More and more, newsrooms are enhancing the value of digital channels in relation to printed products, or are even treating them as equals. Newspaper brands are offering audio and video contributions on their websites or via mobile services and pushing interactive offers such as blogs and discussion forums. These changes and additions to the world of publishing will inevitably have fundamental consequences for the structures and working methods of a newsroom. What many publishers have been practising for several years – such as the Nordjyske Stiftstidende newspaper in Denmark, namely the integrated generation of content via all channels and formats and the inclusion of public-generated content – is initially being practised by only a few publishing houses. In 2006, the Telegraph media group in London began an extensive programme to convert its traditional newspaper editorial departments into a multimedia newsroom. At the beginning of 2007, the Fairfax media group in Australia began a similar programme. Conversely, at Shelby Star in North Carolina (USA), a daily paper with a circulation of 15,000, integrated working in the newsroom has been the order of the day for several years. The necessary changes that publishers have to implement to continue to reach their existing and prospective public in the future are, however, only linked to the working environment on a secondary level. The main changes are taking place in editors’ heads. Digital media and new formats represent an endless repertoire for print journalists to be able to retell their stories and reach as many people as possible. Once this fundamental multimedia-oriented position of the editorial office is reached, all the changes in organisation and infrastructure are merely logical consequences. The study carried out by the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences clearly shows the change of attitude in German publishing houses. The trend towards an integrated newsroom in which all communication channels are treated equally will transfer the journalistic qualities we expect from daily papers to other media.