Not much new in this newsroom plan

The Financial Times is apparently revamping the way it publishes news in print and online. The British newspaper will focus on “creation, crafting and completion.”

But is this approach new to newsrooms? Not really, at least by American standards. For example:

Reporters will use a ‘right first time’ approach to their stories. Most newsrooms already expect that stories are in solid shape when they are filed. Some require that reporters pencil-check all facts in stories. Yet copy editors still find and repair errors that were overlooked by reporters — that fresh set of eyes makes a difference.

Reporters will include hyperlinks in their stories. This varies from site to site, but many reporters are already doing this. At the Los Angeles Times, for example, reporters include links in their blog posts. Links in stories are typically done by Web editors, however.

Reporters will write suggested headlines for their stories. This has been done off and on in U.S. newsrooms for years. The practice has two purposes: to help a copy editor write the actual headline and to help the reporter make sure the story has a clear focus. Of course, some copy editors ignored the suggested headlines, and some reporters forgot to provide them.

“News integrators” will work closely with reporters to ensure that all of this gets done. This sounds like a copy editor with a new name. For decades, we’ve been working with our reporting colleagues to make sure that news is published on time and at the highest quality. Of course, being renamed a “news integrator” is far better than being outsourced or laid off.

It will be interesting to see how this reorganization plays out. But on its face, it doesn’t seem like a radical change in workflow.


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