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Seeking Sustainability, Part 4: Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith on the many tensions of technology

This spring, the Knight Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion exploring a crucial issue in journalism: the sustainability of nonprofit news organizations. This week, we’re passing along some videos of the conversations that resulted (and, as always, we’d love to continue the discussion in the comments section). We posted Part 1 of the series, a talk focused on business-model viability over time, on Tuesday; Part 2 — on revenue-generation — on Wednesday; and Part 3 — on community engagement — yesterday.

In today’s final pair of videos, Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune leads a discussion that focuses on the not-always-obvious tensions implicit in innovation: whether to hire staff with narrow or general tech expertise; whether to develop free-standing tech departments or incorporate tech employees throughout an organization; how to adjust technology to reader demographics; when — and when not — to go open-source; how to translate technology into revenue; how to distinguish mere fads from true technological trends; how to create platform-flexible content; how organizations might share technological resources; etc.

It’s an important, revealing conversation — all of it taking place under the shadow of the innovator’s dilemma. Evan’s introduction to the roundtable is above; the video below features a conversation among Knight’s panel of heavy-hitters.

Participants in this one, in general order of appearance, included: Voice of San Diego‘s Scott Lewis and Buzz Woolley, Knight‘s Eric Newton, the St. Louis Beacon‘s Nicole Hollway, California Watch‘s Mark Katches, the Connecticut Mirror‘s James Cutie, New America Media‘s Julian Do, the New Haven Independent‘s Paul Bass, the Chicago News Cooperative‘s Peter Osnos, Texas Tribune‘s Higinio Maycotte and Michael Sherrod, Village Soup‘s Richard Anderson, UT-Austin‘s Rosental Alves, and The Bay Citizen‘s Lisa Frazier.

                                   
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Leonhardt
Caroline O'Donovan    April 23, 2014
“Is there a way to take some of the knowledge that people at The New York Times already have that ends up on the cutting room floor, and put it in front of readers?”