HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
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.
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
The ubiquity game has different rules for digital startups than for legacy businesses. But for both, figuring out the right relationship with Facebook is key to their audience strategies.
Jeff Israely: Good content marketing benefits from a smart publisher’s touch
Our startup correspondent, building Worldcrunch in Paris, on the thinking behind its operation’s pivot: “The smart brands know they’ll lose your attention if they use this new publishing power simply to push their merchandise.”
How a hobby foreign affairs blog became a paywalled news destination — and a business
World Politics Review has grown from one man’s side project to a small news operation supported by a niche paywall.
What to read next
2481
tweets
Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it
The new report from the Media Insight Project looks at millennials’ habits and attitudes toward news consumption: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”
926The next stage in the battle for our attention: Our wrists
News companies have moved from print dollars to digital dimes to mobile pennies. Now, with the highly anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, the screens are getting even smaller. How are smart publishers thinking about the right way to serve users and maintain their attention on smartwatches?
705A wave of distributed content is coming — will publishers sink or swim?
Instead of just publishing to their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly to platforms they don’t control. Is the hunt for readers enough to justify losing some independence?
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 ➚
New Jersey Newsroom
New York
Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
Amazon
Medium
Newsday
Gannett
National Journal
Semana
Voice of San Diego
Instapaper
Kickstarter