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Why Not Occupy Newsrooms?
Almost two weeks ago, USA Today put its finger on why the Occupy Wall Street protests continued to gain traction.
“The bonus system has gone beyond a means of rewarding talent and is now Wall Street’s primary business,” the newspaper editorial stated, adding: “Institutions take huge gambles because the short-term returns are a rationale for their rich payouts. But even when the consequences of their risky behavior come back to haunt them, they still pay huge bonuses.”
Well thought and well put, but for one thing: If you were looking for bonus excess despite miserable operations, the best recent example I can think of is Gannett, which owns USA Today.
The week before the editorial ran, Craig A. Dubow resigned as Gannett’s chief executive. His short six-year tenure was, by most accounts, a disaster. Gannett’s stock price declined to about $10 a share from a high of $75 the day after he took over; the number of employees at Gannett plummeted to 32,000 from about 52,000, resulting in a remarkable diminution in journalistic boots on the ground at the 82 newspapers the company owns.
“I spent four days [in June] trying to get comments on Gannett [executive] bonuses and on Sunday night they said, 'We're not going to comment on these bonuses.' And I just said, 'Really? You're a newspaper company? You're a publicly held company. These bonuses are a matter of public record, and you have nothing to say about them?' And I just found that appalling and I think some of that was reflected in the piece [this week.]”—David Carr talks to Terry Gross about his piece “Why Not Occupy Newsrooms.”
“The Post incorrectly attributed a quote to Toni Braxton in an article on March 25. Braxton did not say, 'I have a big-ass house, three cars and I fly first class all around the world. Some say I have the perfect life.'”—correction of the day, courtesy of the New York Post. So, who is responsible for that amazing quote?
Friday on the newsroom messaging system
- Monica: It tastes like alcoholic cake. I'm afraid of it.
- Dan: The best desserts are the scary ones.
- Monica: When we turn 40 we are going to have to find a way to turn this dessert-abetting into hand-slapping, or else we will be the fattest Style writers in history.
One year at Washington Post
My vivid memory about the call from Washington that contained a job offer I didn’t expect was the feel of the hardwood floors under my feet in that Chicago apartment. I spent the winter after graduation working my ass off, interning and writing all I could and also folding jeans, hoping something would give.
And then all of the sudden there was the feel of the floor under my bare feet. I was jumping up and down.
I worked really hard to get a job here, but it wasn’t anything compared to what was waiting for me. This was the quickest, craziest, most rewarding year of my life, and here’s why: The Post is not a place that opens for you and gives you time to find your way. You have about 20 minutes to find a few friendly faces and pick your spots before you’re swallowed up into the din of the daily flow. Find a mentor, find a friend, find someone who might someday vouch for you. That is how this place works. It took me forever to find my mailbox, set up my voicemail, order business cards, but it took me even longer to win over the trust of people whose good graces are essential to doing a good job. And there will never be an end to navigating office politics, of watching what you’re saying and to whom, of trying to reason with those more territorial.
It can be really exhausting. Every single second of it, for better or worse, is quintessentially D.C.
I can say with certainty only strong people thrive here, and for awhile I wasn’t sure I was one of them. This isn’t a self-congratulatory post, but one meant to reflect on a year that felt hard-won for me more than anything else.
I do social media, but all of us should. All journalists should really be driven by a community of some sort, and that sphere happens to be mine. To that end, working here changed how I view journalism. I think it’s more important than ever for journalists to work together for a common goal. I think keeping a ‘web and print’ mentality, or even a ‘my part of the web, your part of the web’ mindset is counterproductive. I think stories should be social from beginning to end. And I think young journalists have so much to learn from people who’ve been in the field for awhile — as long as those people are willing to feel that same way about us.
And, let’s be clear, this is just the very basic gist of it. I could give you links and a social media manifesto and mention some studies, but I don’t feel the need for clutter so late in the day. This is already too much wordage.
Anyway, one year in, I feel really good, and I feel more capable than ever. It helps to have someone who pushes me to be better at what I do. It helps to have someone whose work I admire, whose advice I take to heart. It helps to have someone with charisma, smarts and a sense of ownership about what we do to motivate me. It helps to have somewhat of a fearless leader to back it all up. It helps to work with some of the smartest people I could imagine knowing, people with no ‘off’ switch whose company I feel lucky to keep.
And, most of all, it helps to know I’m still myself after a year in this ridiculous town.
So, here’s to 365 days in. Hell yes. Let’s see how this next year goes.
Tips On Setting Up Online (Interactive) Newsrooms
With the advancement of internet technology and the increase adoption of bandwidth around the world, the new PR/media relations professional has to make sure to embrace the new web 3.0 platform. Setting up an online newsroom for your company is essential for a few reasons:
1. It’s going to be the main source of credible information about your company, especially when journalists, analysts, and customers are researching at all hours or use your online news center to obtain breaking news.
2. The newsroom is also a great way to maintain control of brand communication (much better for a journalist to receive info straight from the brand rather than another source).
3. Newsrooms can also save in costs associated with sending out media kits or informational product DVD’s. All Media kit information can be converted into PDF format and posted in the newsroom as well as DVD converted into video format.
Most journalists expect to see the basic elements included in your newsroom. Basic elements include:
- Contact info for your main PR contact. Basic facts about the company. Executive bio section. Company’s point of view on its industry. Access to financial information, quarterly newscast of earnings. Easy downloadable images for stories. Images and logos should be in 72 dpi for web usage and hi-res 300 dpi files for print publications. Searchable news release archives. Product information.
Online newsrooms in this web 3.0 world range from the basics to the more advanced media centers with searchable databases, video presentations, and podcasts. These interactive newsrooms can contain blogs, RSS feeds, and SMR (Social Media News Releases). When sending out PR email alerts to journalists, it’s always good practice to put link backs to the online newsroom. Targeted messages using RSS feeds are also great for wireless devices like smart phones.
Other online newsroom features you will want to include are E-press kits. E-press kits include targeted news releases, images, statements and related content. Also include the ability for a journalist to sign up for email “media alerts.” If you really would like to cater to your journalists and media personal, include personal folders in the newsrooms with a password protected area to store information they’ve researched and want to archive for future use. Add special icons to into the press releases or other collateral that will enable the journalists with a simple click to add to their folder.
Break the newsroom into a corporate and consumer section. The consumer section should include news and info on customer satisfaction, feedback, e-commerce, marketing, safety, and service. As you build your online interactive newsroom keep the following in mind:
- Your brand’s newsroom will be a main source of credible information as journalist’s research story ideas or analysts looking for financial information.
- Understand the basics of your online newsroom before enhancing it. Add features and functions slowly. Keep in mind that most journalists today that access your newsroom are technologically savvy. Don’t be afraid to add advance features.
- Always post fresh content everyday (blogs are a good example). Fresh content will have journalists returning to your newsroom to check out the latest news and information.
- Build your newsroom in phases starting out with the basics. A second phase can include features such as RSS, podcasts, video. A third phase you can add blogs, tags, social bookmarking sites and even a technorati or Twitter searches to check out all the chatter on a topic in the blogosphere or social media platforms.