News Leadership 3.0

August 05, 2008

Link: Innovation in the newsroom

Next Newsroom developer
says to start by making
innovation a priority

Chris O’Brien is a business columnist at The San Jose Mercury News and winner of a Knight 21st Century News Challenge grant to study the newsroom of the future. From that vantage point, he offers “Five Steps to Foster Innovation in the Newsroom.”

O’Brien says:

“No one can simply order up innovation on demand. Wish as you might, the innovation fairy won’t sprinkle pixie dust on your newsroom while you sleep. But you can encourage innovation, nurture it by lowering barriers, supporting those employees with entrepreneurial drive, and providing a fertile environment for their ideas.”

His list:
1. Make it a priority
2. Create a process
3. Foster new collaboration
4. Offer incentives
5. Evaluate and learn

I think it all flows from 1. Make it a priority. Too often, newsrooms are so wound up in getting out that next edition or that next online update that thinking about and creating for the future falls by the wayside day after day after day.

Setting aside time for the future is a choice, a discipline and an imperative.

As O’Brien says:

“If 100 percent of your newsroom’s time is devoted to just producing your current products, then you’re already doomed, even if it isn’t immediately apparent. This is true whether you’re a traditional newspaper newsroom, or an online first newsroom.”

How does your newsroom foster innovation? Please share your thoughts in comments.


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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

Get in touch with Michele at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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