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Recapping episode XI: How are today’s newsrooms driving Innovation?

April 22, 2010 - Posted in Highlights , Web Journalism Posted by:

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Without a doubt, innovation is the key to the journalism industry’s survival. Whether it’s in the form of story telling or new revenue models, innovation will decide our future.

But are our newsrooms conducive to support innovation? Are we willing to take risks? Do we even know how to measure successes? How the hell do we stay innovative when we are busy putting out a daily publication or broadcast? Did we lay off innovation in the cuts?

That was #wjchat’s topic this week, with guest moderator CNN’s Victor Hernandez / @vhernandezcnn

Here are some of the highlights from the weekly Twitter conversation aimed at Web Journalists. Here’s a full chat transcript.

Q1 Let’s start by getting on the same page… How do you define innovation? #wjchat

@gotoPlanB: Innovation = applied creativity. #wjchat

@ClaudiaKoerner: Not just new ideas, but new ideas that really make a process/thing better. #wjchat

@vhernandezcnn: For me it means pushing boundaries… sometimes taking thoughts to a completely different space. Never easy, always worth it. #wjchat

@andymboyle: But in all honesty, I think innovation just means you took a risk. Tried something new. Pushed for failure. #wjchat

@vhernandezcnn: Am already so impressed with everyone’s responses to Q1 – should we stop now and end on top and before anyone gets hurt? #wjchat

@andysternberg: You’ve got to be nimble to innovate. Even the most innovative “borrow” / take inspiration from the old skool. Timing is key #wjchat

Q2 How do you rate/describe your newsroom’s level of experimentation, risk and/or innovation? Why? #wjchat

@kaitlinflanigan: My newsroom is seriously lacking in the innovation dept. We don’t have a web desk. It’s the 21st Cent. I want to change it. #wjchat

@BrianManzullo: The struggle isnt just getting other journalists to think Web-first. It’s getting your readership to respond to what you’re doing #wjchat

@webjournalist: In most newsrooms, we’re busy putting out the ‘daily miracle,’ so risk/innovation – time to think – is tough. But so very needed. #wjchat

@ryanpitts: @wjchat 6-7 years ago, we had to drag people into contributing online. Now the room has so many ideas, dev just can’t keep up. #wjchat

@andymboyle: Know when I “innovate”? Usually after I have dinner and get bored on the Internets. Try it. Lots do it. #wjchat

@andymboyle: And by after dinner, I mean after I’ve had a few drinks. #wjchat #imaginethat #mementioningboozeinwjchat

Q3 Are individuals allowed/encouraged to be innovative in your newsroom? #wjchat

@assignmentdesk1: Recently our reporters were taught/encouraged how to post stories directly to the web. They are encouraged to tweet. #wjchat

@robinsonandrew: We push for innovation. How do you make younger staffers understand the importance of it?

@andymboyle: We certainly aren’t discouraged. But things move slow in any big org. Gotta work from within. #wjchat

@alexschmidt: i would be hesitant to take much liberty online after scary legal altercations in blog comments, when i was NPR reporter… #wjchat

@greglinch: News orgs should take a cue from Google and give journalists a certain % of their time to work on side projects.

Q4 Taking @andymboyle ‘s earlier comment (not the drinking one) when do you do your best thinking? Your best ideas/inspiration/innovation? #wjchat

@BrianManzullo: Anywhere but in the workplace. You want your mind to work freely. Being at work can confine you #wjchat

@annaxli: in the middle of the night when everybody is asleep and all i have is time ticking away #wjchat

@tchance121: Seem to do most of my thinking in the car. Usually on my days off. #wjchat

@vhernandezcnn: I love Q4 – thanks @andymboyle! I think ‘biggest’ when i’m around other innovative folks – their smart ideas become contagious. #wjchat

@tchance121: I also find my innovation revolves around solving problems of those around me. It has fueled almost all of my ideas. #wjchat

@andymboyle: @greglinch You make that “free” time for yourself by managing your time better, making time by being more efficient. #wjchat

@greglinch: #wjchat @vhernandezcnn Agreed. Journos can’t/shouldn’t wait for permission; need to take initiative & whatever time they can, even if on own

Q5 Every newsroom is busy and faces diverse challenges. How do you try to innovate in your unique work environment? Tips? #wjchat

@greglinch: Advantage to working at a startup (besides lack of legacy costs, structures, etc) is that your *job* is to innovate, essentially

@KimFatica: I am constantly sharing my discoveries with people I know are innovators. Keeps me inspired, keeps it fresh. #wjchat

@jenleereeves: I try to “hide” and join in on online convos or dig into research or play around a couple of hours a week at work. Hiding is a must

@andymboyle:Use Newsday’s Bob Greene method. Do enough work so you’ve got SOMETHING. Then tell boss “But I can do THIS with time!!!” #wjchat

@webjournalist: I tried to work under the 80/20 rule. 80 percent work I have to do, 20 percent innovative, fun work. More a goal, than reality. #wjchat

Q6 Does your newsroom fall into the generational trap? That is, “we’ll leave it to the young ones to lead us in the emerging tech world?” #wjchat

@KimFatica: My newsroom is getting younger, and I am becoming an “elder” at 48, but I stay ahead, try to lead not follow. #wjchat

@jenleereeves: I actually have non-open minded young jurnos. Not a generational thing in my newsroom. #wjchat

@vhernandezcnn: Q6 is a major issue for many news orgs – the “I’ll let somebody else worry about innovation” mentality has got to go! #wjchat

@ClaudiaKoerner: If there’s any division, it’s between nerds and nonnerds. I’ve met some oldsters who had computers before I was born… #wjchat

@webjournalist: This isn’t really an age issue, as it is a … perhaps pride issue? Control issue? Stubbornness? #wjchat

@sashalester: @webjournalist agreed. I dont think your age matters. It’s just stubbornness to change and as you said a pride issue #wjchat

@russelltripp: @sashalester @TVAmy If *everyone* likes what you’re doing, your probably not doing much. #problemcity #wjchat

@SaraLApatch: But I’ve been surprised at how often an oldster like me is leading the youngsters. They are wary and jaded, I am eager and earnest. #wjchat

[No Q7 was asked]

Q8 via @claudiakoerner Any tips on how to make time to apply those great innovative ideas once you have them? That’s where I flounder. #wjchat

@andymboyle: @claudiakoerner Talk with your manager. Find a way to get X number of stories done and have a few hours to fiddle here and there. #wjchat

@KimFatica: I try to MAKE opportunities to innovate, rather than wait for them to happen. Lead vs follow. #wjchat

@simbeckhampson: @KelseyProud “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat” #wjchat

Q9 What innovation have you seen recently that has inspired you? #wjchat

@webjournalist: I have to give a shout out to my former @seattletimes crew who won the Pulitzer because they took a chance with GoogleWave. #wjchat

@NSlayton: Linking various sites like Remember the Milk, Twitter, e-mail together to not only remember tasks but communicate with — #wjchat

@andymboyle: This made me mad because it’s so awesome and this kid is coming to intern at my paper: #wjchat

@simbeckhampson: @SarahDayOwen Try for all things contextual, real and value-adding – you will like it! #wjchat

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