Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Asheville Citizen-Times Asks For Your Help (and gets with blogging)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingJoy Franklin says this in her Nov. 13th editorial:
"At the end of this month, our new editorial board plans an off-site retreat to discuss and debate our key issues for 2007. My vision for the editorial position of the paper is more local and more focused than perhaps it has been in the past.

At our retreat we plan to try to reach a consensus on three to five top priorities for Asheville and Western North Carolina.

We invite you to send suggestions on where our focus should be to make WNC an even better place to live. We will consider them all at the retreat.

Send your ideas to jfranklin@citizen-times.com by Nov. 24
. We also will take your suggestions on proposed additions and/or deletions to our stable of local and nationally syndicated columnists."

It's good to see our local newspaper refocusing and working towards further improvement. And it's up to us to answer Ms. Franklin's call. What would you like to suggest?

While you're pondering that one, know that the AC-T's parent company has decided work more closely with "citizen journalism":
"Gannett is radically changing the way its papers gather and present news by incorporating elements of reader-created ‘citizen journalism,’ mining online community discussions for stories and creating Internet databases of calendar listings and other non-news utilities.” You can read the full story [here].

We expect to have the Information Center concept fully rolled out at the Citizen-Times by the spring."

In otherwords, the newspaper is going to use the work of bloggers and other internet users to augment, add to, and inform their reporting. I wonder if they'll invite any bloggers to help them do so. Maybe we ought to invite the editorial board out for a fun dinner to explore the possibilities and to say thanks for creating a local blogroll on their editorial page.


arratik said...

Well, at least they're recognizing that the local press/msm has to do something in order to stay relevant these days.

I'll be more than happy to help them regain or maintain their relevancy, but there is the possibility that they may be too late. Call me cynical, but it sounds to me like the AC-T/Gannett is throwing a "Hail Mary".

Edgy Mama said...

All newspapers are changing. This is from today's Washington Post:

NEW YORK In a surprising memo to staffers today, Leonard Downie, Jr., executive editor, announced several general and specific shakeups "to maximize readership of the printed newspaper, build audience on the Web site and further reduce costs in the newsroom."

This includes a plan to "shrink" the newsroom. "tightening up the paper's news hole," cracking down on story length and moving reporters and editors "within and among staffs." The Post is now suffering from regular circulation declines.

Downie called it nothing less than an "opportunity to transform journalism for a new era." He added that it is "the most important change that I will lead as executive editor. It reminds me of my early days in the newsroom, when Ben Bradlee began boldly transforming the paper during the 1960s and 1970s."

In explaining the bold plan, Downie wrote: "We are not just cutting costs.
We believe that everything we are doing will make the newspaper stronger and increase readership of the printed paper and washingtonpost.com.

"We are re-directing newsroom staff and resources to our highest priority journalism in print and on the Web....

"We are moving reporters and editors within and among staffs to accomplish this. In particular, we are moving a number of reporters from general assignment positions to more specific assignments and beats. We also are centralizing reporting and editing of some core subjects across staff lines....

"In the process, we will continue to shrink the newsroom staff through attrition, as low-priority positions become vacant. We also are tightening up the paper's news hole, beginning with the reconfiguration of the financial market tables in today's Business section, which saves two pages of newsprint each day. Other newshole reductions will be scattered throughout the newspaper, so readers will not lose significant content....

"We will take a new approach to story length, which remains an important challenge, despite the progress already made in some parts of the paper. We will soon publish story length guidelines for the staff, along with ways to adhere to them."

After discussing changes to benefit the Web site, Downie wrapped it up on this note: "This remains a challenging time, but also one of great opportunity – the opportunity to transform journalism for a new era in The Washington Post and on washingtonpost.com. Even as we reduce newsroom staff and costs, we will have amply sufficient staff and talent to make this transformation.

ash said...

cool. let's start calling the asheville paper "Washington Post Jr."

mygothlaundry said...

So they're firing reporters and editors, relying on volunteers to do their reporting and editing and almost certainly increasing the size of their advertising and administrative staff. Brave new corporate America as usual.