Looking for multimedia journalists to lead the way

The Richmond Times Dispatch is a paper with a long history – it’s been around in one form or another for more than 100 years.  But this newspaper, like so many other news organizations, is trying to re-invent itself in the digital age.  

Glenn Proctor is the executive editor of the paper.  He says these days, “Our philolosphy is Web first.”  You’ll hear that in a lot of newsrooms, and sometimes the person saying it actually means it!  But how do you change a newsroom culture that has always been geared to produce a printed publication or a nightly newscast?  Proctor recently laid out his plan of attack before a small group at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications.

He says his newsroom is now made up of 3 teams:  Information, Now and Creative.  The Now team is responsible for the Web, with a goal of having 10 new things posted to the Web by 7 a.m. every morning – that’s 10 new things that a print-only reader would not see in the morning newspaper. 

Depending on your point of view, that may or may not be a lot of new content – but it may very well be a sign that the times they really are a changin’ – slowly though it may be in some news organizations.

Proctor went on to talk about how he will continue to evolve the paper into a Web-first operation. 

“We’ve recently hired eight new people, all under age 30,” said Proctor.  “We deliberately went looking for those with multimedia skills and understanding.”

Proctor said today’s multimedia journalists need to be ready for a different kind of reporting.

“Your tool kit will be a pad, pen, cell phone, audio and video recorder,” said Proctor.

Proctor’s newsroom and others are looking for young journalists to be leaders – helping legacy media to survive into the future.

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