Newsroom Tours - Day 1
The media landscape is changing. It’s cliche by now. Ever since celebrities started tweeting and everyone found out starting blog was free and easy, I’ve heard nothing but “It’s moving to the web,” “No one in your generation watches TV,” and the ever-so-overplayed “Newspapers are dead.” Except for the fact that they’re not. Though they no longer make the crazy profit margins they used to.
On Friday, June 27, which also happens to be my birthday (lucky me), our class visited several news outlets. Every outlet was a little different than the one before, and It was sort of like traveling back in time when we went from The Huffington Post to the Associated Press.
The first stop of the day was at The Huffington Post where we saw probably the largest one-room newsroom I will ever see. There were rows upon rows of tables where writers and editors sat producing content for the site. There didn’t seem to be much overhead because, after all, a lot of what they do is aggregation, and they have never actually printed a paper as far as I know. We also took a quick peek in at HuffPost Live, which our tour guide described as their response to cable news. The office also featured nap rooms and ping-pong tables reminiscent of Google.
The next stop was Entertainment Weekly. This was probably the most “traditional” newsroom we looked at in the sense that they print a publication once a week. The print staff worked on one side of the hallway. On the other side, you could find the web staff. There is also an iPad staff. (Maybe they sit in the middle.) It was great to hear from some University of Missouri alums while we were there.
The final newsroom we dropped into was the Associated Press. It is amazing how much content flows through that building every day. We heard from several MU alums, along with a member of the product development staff who discussed AP’s movement over the last few years to mobile, an arena that has generated them direct revenue from ads. Since AP is a non-profit and works to help its member newspapers, it has to be careful not to compete with its members. The AP phone application is one of the first areas they felt they could effectively help themselves without hurting their members.
We also had a broader conversation about disruptive technologies from Seth Harris. It was probably the most enlightening discussion I heard all day. I had no idea VOX Media’s big pull was their platform, not necessarily their content and Buzzfeed is blowing away everyone with traffic and growth.
We finished the day at an alumni event here in the city. It’s insane how many media professionals here graduated from MU.