Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More details about the restructuring of Local news: Back to the future

Editors had a meeting this afternoon. Some details are filtering out. The plans sound more ambitious than scaled back. The idea is to better serve the "core readers" in those communities where we have the most of them. That means other communities will get less attention: NE Tarrant and the southern Dallas suburbs in particular.

What will the identified communities get? Small teams of reporters. A government reporter and a schools reporter, maybe. But there will still be GA reporters. There will also be an emphasis on analysis and context stories. Maybe some cuts in specialties, though there aren't many of those positions left.

One of my readers said the plans made him think of the scene in the movie Apollo 13 where the astronauts need to power up the command module but only have enough battery power for a couple of light bulbs. Getting it to work took very careful planning. How to "power up" local coverage while cutting the editorial staff will take very careful planning.


  1. What a perfect analogy.

    So, is this going to be like launching mini Collin County rollouts in our core reader areas?

    I get trying to preserve what we have. It's what we have now. Why don't we see any movement about trying to have a product for the future. We seem to be stuck reinventing the wheel instead of advancing to create something new.

  2. As long as we're stuck with this Projects behemoth, whose primary goal is to not get into the newspaper, this is all parlor conversation.

    See you at

  3. Why do we turn on each other? If we're in projects or busniness or local or photo or whatever, we're all in the same boat.

    And I really don't think that it's the goal of projects reporters not to have stories in the paper. That doesn't even make sense.

  4. Knocking Projects is stupid. According to George, they'll be working faster, tag-teaming with other reporters. They include some of our smartest and most aggressive reporters. They want to see their work in print. But let's face it: Complex stories take time to unravel. Are some on that team more productive than others? Duh. Can be said about any cluster, group, or aggregation. (And I am *not* nor would I want to be on the projects team. Not my cuppa.)

  5. Since someone has already responded to the personal attack on the Projects folks, I'll leave both comments up. But I mean it: Personal attacks are not acceptable here.

  6. To the anonymous poster who is disturbed about the "projects behemoth:" Come by my desk any time and I'll be happy to try to explain what projects reporters do, why we do it, and what we hope to do in the future. We're as concerned as anyone else about the situation and will do our bests to fill any role we're assigned. Seriously, come by and talk.

  7. Everyone talks about the newsroom media but nobody talks about the others who are effected by this. The feeling in the advertising department is depressing. The rumors are flying and nobody feels safe. Don't know if it's better to be the laid off or the stay behind.

  8. The limited scope of this blog is not a slight to other parts of the paper that are affected. It's just hard enough for me to get information about the newsroom. If someone from another department wants to start a blog, drop me a note and I'll explain how simple the technology is. And what the pitfalls can be.