20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
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2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

Rebuilding journalism, together

“Small media organizations without resources for long-term strategic thinking could do a lot worse than asking their readers what directions they could follow in the future.”

The relationship between news organizations and the public is difficult. So is the relationship between news organizations and their journalists. We’re tackling multiple unknowns at once, at a speed that makes many of us feel overstretched and underprepared for our jobs — or for what we think should be our jobs.

Could it be that honest conversations about our experiences — within our teams, within a wider organizational structure, and with our readers — might help relieve some of that pressure and provide solutions?

Just as a more experienced colleague can help a young journalist dealing with a tricky reporting situation, or be a sounding board for untangling complicated narratives, so can a reader with expertise in a particular field provide insights or a new perspective to help unblock projects feeling the weight of indecision.

Small media organizations without resources for long-term strategic thinking could do a lot worse than asking their readers what directions they could follow in the future. At DoR — an independent journalism platform that helps readers connect, understand one another and what they can do to tackle the problems of modern-day Romania — we’ve embarked on a journey to establish a feedback loop with our readers, through surveys, in-person interviews, and focus groups.

It’s easy to start a conversation with readers when you want to discuss the subjects you’re reporting on. Many journalists do this with resounding success and see their own work benefit from these check-ins with their audience. But it’s another process entirely when you’re hoping to build a shared understanding of each other’s relationships with journalism: for them to know why you’re there as a journalist, and for you to understand why they’re there as readers.

Building common ground takes time, effort, and uncomfortable conversations, but we’re likely to see more editorial teams dedicating resources to this in 2020. Publishers hoping that reader revenue holds the key to at least sustainability (if not growth) will need more than a lead-acquisition campaign. (Though that’s definitely also on our wishlist at DoR for 2020!). We’re all going to need more readers who understand our mission and our values — and for that to happen, we need to talk more, listen more, and work together.

Catalina Albeanu is digital editor at Romania’s DoR (Decât o Revistă).

The relationship between news organizations and the public is difficult. So is the relationship between news organizations and their journalists. We’re tackling multiple unknowns at once, at a speed that makes many of us feel overstretched and underprepared for our jobs — or for what we think should be our jobs.

Could it be that honest conversations about our experiences — within our teams, within a wider organizational structure, and with our readers — might help relieve some of that pressure and provide solutions?

Just as a more experienced colleague can help a young journalist dealing with a tricky reporting situation, or be a sounding board for untangling complicated narratives, so can a reader with expertise in a particular field provide insights or a new perspective to help unblock projects feeling the weight of indecision.

Small media organizations without resources for long-term strategic thinking could do a lot worse than asking their readers what directions they could follow in the future. At DoR — an independent journalism platform that helps readers connect, understand one another and what they can do to tackle the problems of modern-day Romania — we’ve embarked on a journey to establish a feedback loop with our readers, through surveys, in-person interviews, and focus groups.

It’s easy to start a conversation with readers when you want to discuss the subjects you’re reporting on. Many journalists do this with resounding success and see their own work benefit from these check-ins with their audience. But it’s another process entirely when you’re hoping to build a shared understanding of each other’s relationships with journalism: for them to know why you’re there as a journalist, and for you to understand why they’re there as readers.

Building common ground takes time, effort, and uncomfortable conversations, but we’re likely to see more editorial teams dedicating resources to this in 2020. Publishers hoping that reader revenue holds the key to at least sustainability (if not growth) will need more than a lead-acquisition campaign. (Though that’s definitely also on our wishlist at DoR for 2020!). We’re all going to need more readers who understand our mission and our values — and for that to happen, we need to talk more, listen more, and work together.

Catalina Albeanu is digital editor at Romania’s DoR (Decât o Revistă).

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