HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Ken Doctor: Why The New York Times hired Kinsey Wilson
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 5, 2013, 10 a.m.

From Nieman Reports: New newsrooms may seem small, but they can pack a punch

“My personal philosophy is that if the Associated Press or the Austin American-Statesman is doing a story on a given topic, that’s terrific. It means I can spend my time doing something new.”
Editor’s note: Our colleagues at our sister publication Nieman Reports are out with their new issue, and there’s a lot of great stuff in there for any journalist to check out. Over the next few days, we’ll share excerpts from a few of the stories that we think would be of most interest to Nieman Lab readers. Be sure to check out the entire issue.

Here, Kate Galbraith of The Texas Tribune (and a 2008 Nieman Fellow) talks about how innovative newsrooms often come in small sizes.

nieman-reports-spring-2013-cover“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” These words, from the anthropologist Margaret Mead, should be front and center for every media organization. Changing the world by providing information—that is what we are about.

Mead was right in another way, too. Change can start small.

I have spent the past three years at The Texas Tribune, an online nonprofit publication based in Austin. By the usual standards of newsrooms, we’re tiny. Our team includes just over a dozen reporters, plus several editors. And yet we’ve gotten a lot done. We’ve uncovered forced fights at a Houston-area residential treatment center for foster children, and we’ve created a database—plus an ongoing series of articles—on the conflicts of interest of elected Texas officials. We’ve won Murrow, Webby and Society of Professional Journalists awards.

In a small newsroom, we all chip in. If someone writes a breaking story—about a criminal-case sentencing, for example, or a health-care protest—he or she will e-mail it around to all Tribune reporters and plead for a fast edit. If no editor is available, another reporter steps in to edit and publish. That’s a little less formal than traditional newsrooms.

Small means that we interact constantly with one another. I sit 10 feet from our immigration reporter, Julián Aguilar, and we’ll swap story ideas on environmental issues near the Texas-Mexico border. I’m 20 feet from our crack data reporter, Ryan Murphy, who basically starts mapping oil and gas wastewater disposal wells or Texas cities running out of water almost before we’ve finished discussing the idea.

Keep reading at Nieman Reports »

POSTED     June 5, 2013, 10 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Ken Doctor: Why The New York Times hired Kinsey Wilson
The former chief content officer at NPR will be moving up I-95 to one of the most important digital positions at the Times.
Why Google is taking another shot at helping readers pay for news
Google Contributor is the latest tool the company has designed to help readers pay for what they read online. But its previous experiments in supporting paid content have had limited success.
In Canada, newspapers’ attempts to experiment with ebooks haven’t seen much success
A number of papers across the country started ebook programs in the early part of this decade, repurposing their archives or producing new work. They haven’t been the moneymakers some had hoped.
What to read next
718
tweets
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
540Here’s some remarkable new data on the power of chat apps like WhatsApp for sharing news stories
At least in certain contexts, WhatsApp is a truly major traffic driver — bigger even than Facebook. Should there be a WhatsApp button on your news site?
502Controlled chaos: As journalism and documentary film converge in digital, what lessons can they share?
Old and new media types from journalism, documentary, and technology backgrounds gathered at MIT to share practices and discuss mutual concerns.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
OpenFile
McClatchy
Public Radio International
Mozilla
Fox News
Crosscut
Medium
The Washington Post
Hacks/Hackers
Journal Register Co.
The Daily
The Boston Globe