The digital news ghetto is being gentrified one national newspaper at a time. Gannett Co.’s USA Today told its 500 newsroom staffers, 425 assigned to the print paper and 75 to its Web site, that from now on they will work as one.
|The 75 Web staffers will now be folded in to USA Today's newsroom.
While many smaller market newspapers have probably been essentially operating one newsroom all along to feed their print and online publications, the big guys set up separate operations 10 years ago in order to gauge just what this online news thing would exactly grow into.
Well, now we know.
The Web is no longer and up-and-coming neighborhood, it is the equivalent of a very big metropolitan area. USA Today has a total average daily circulation of 2.3 million, while the Web site had 10.4 million unique visitors, according to October 2005 Nielsen NetRatings.
“The goal in combining the two newsrooms is to create a single 24-hour news organization that will inform and engage readers on multiple platforms,” USA Today Editor Ken Paulson said in a statement. “That means going beyond arm’s-length collaboration. Starting today our goal is to begin conceiving and planning our coverage as one unit, thinking more strategically about the deployment of our newsgathering resources in a world in which news has become an on-demand commodity.”
The New York Times already made this move back in August, realizing that it made sense to have one staff feed both operations going forward. But some newspapers, like California’s Fresno Bee and Florida’s Tampa Tribune, have gone even further, not only combining Web and print staff, but adding TV capabilities to newsrooms as well. The newspaper industry, it seems, is finally acting like it is in the news business rather than the print publishing business.