There is a thing that keeps bugging me, and it’s this: Until we stop thinking about digital as a discrete thing in our news operations, our mindsets, cultures and workflows will never really change.
If we just stop thinking that digital is a special thing with differing needs to print, it would be a massive step forward in newsroom change.
That point in itself is a shift for me: A few years ago I would have said that the way to go was to treat digital as a startup – hothouse a team, give it growing time, be attentive to it.
I changed my mind because things have changed. We don’t need to hothouse digital because we should be over that now.
Doing Digital is so 2008, baby.
Making a special effort to Do Digital is the multimedia equivalent of breathing in and out – it only feels weird when you consciously focus on what you’re doing.
Talk about content, not platform, and think about how that raw content should best be dealt with. It’s three years since I wrote a piece about about throwing away the flatplan/dummy/book/whatever, and I still say it’s the way to go. We need to stop obsessing over physical pages and obsess over content instead.
Personally, I think managers have a responsibility to drag everyone they can with them in this thinking; let the devil take the hindmost. Want career progression? Then be progressive.
The most important act of leadership any manager can do, to protect their team and ensure people have a career ahead of them, is steer them towards things that currently fall by the wayside…
…because people are busy
…because people are writing for the paper and there’s a deadline on a Physical Thing, as opposed to online where no one will notice if a story isn’t up immediately*
…because the interview is happening over the phone and a video is impossible
There are a million excuses, but no good reasons.
* They notice