news gathering in the digital age from a journalist's perspective

We know the media landscape is changing. But what's the perspective of the journalist? Here's a valuable insight.

by Sally Northeast

Things have changed since I trained as a journalist. A lot. But for some people I think there's still this rather quaint view that the local newspaper's reporters are merrily tottering off to their patches to gather news for tomorrow's publication.

Not so! While I suspect this may be a more prevalent view in rural areas than cities and major towns, it certainly exists. I was aware that some of our councillors and officers needed an update on how the modern newsroom operates and the growing role social media plays in our world.

As part of a workshop with Cabinet members I produced a simple video to illustrate this very point. There’s nothing like hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth so I asked Andy Martin, deputy editor at the Daily Echo Bournemouth, to describe his world. More than anything I wanted to show our members and staff that professional (and, importantly, amateur/citizen) news-gathering is a whole new ballgame these days.

Andy has been at the Daily Echo Bournemouth for a long time – in fact he was on the newsdesk when I was a reporter there in the 90s. He and his team have seen the way they work change radically, particularly in recent years.

Like most regional newspapers, the Daily Echo has seen the circulation of its printed product slide. But its web stats are through the roof and heading for the stratosphere.

Andy talks about the way his newsroom now operates, the frantic pace, the relentless demand for updates and the central role of social media as a source of news. It chimes in very nicely with a recent post by Eddie Coates-Madden (link here) and with the ongoing debate on the death, or otherwise, of the press release.

Ignore this at your peril, because I’m pretty sure this is the name of the game across the country and the world. News-gatherers have had to adapt and evolve – and if we don’t do the same we’ll soon be left behind.

 

Sally Northeast is corporate communications manager at Doset County Council.