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Panpa Bulletin : July 2007
PANPA Bulletin July 2007 7 pamphlet explains how newsrooms are changing and how Fairfax Media is expand- ing into a diversified, multimedia company that makes its content available across mul- tiple platforms -- a strategic direction that, as well as expanding its newspapers and online business, will "soon include radio and program production." Eventually, The Age will increasingly sup- plement print and online publication with video reports, podcasts, and deliver news to mobile phones and other electronic devices. "This is an intoxicating time to be a journalist," the pamphlet says. "Those organisations determined to survive are combining traditional news gathering with the speed, reach and innovative functions of the web. "Journalists ... are embracing the change, sensing that integration can be journalism's saviour. They under- stand that the internet, far from being a threat, enables them to produce a better journalism to a much wider audience. "Only 20 per cent of online readers also read the paper. This partly dispels the argument that there's nothing left for the newspaper reader once news has appeared online. "Online is an opportunity for reporters to cross local media boundaries -- jour- nalism sans frontiers, gaining national, and potentially, international profiles." Online enabled expansion of what can be done in the newspaper and reporters and editors were now starting to think about including: Video: can a potentially strong inter- view be filmed? Sound grabs: if an interview is re- corded, some grabs could be downloaded on to the website. Photo galleries: a professional photog- rapher's last image would still be as good as their first. Multiple images can enhance a written piece. Graphics: stronger, bigger graphics that move are ideal for online. Under the heading "Speed in the new mantra", a section stresses the importance of filing during the day -- the time (particularly during lunch) when The Age gets most of its page impressions or unique browsers. The aim is to get as much breaking news on the website as possible, not about reveal- ing exclusives before the paper is distributed. However, if reporters found their story was no longer exclusive, it was important to get it on the website, thus retaining its exclusivity. Columns, analysis and colour were largely the domain of the newspaper but eventually more of this would go online. The "Integration Principles" section con- cludes with a reassurance on maintaining standards and that The Age puts a premium on in-depth, quality reporting and explana- tion of complex subjects and issues. "Journalism of this standard cannot be rushed and we must preserve this distinguishing feature. Age journalism, irrespective of delivery channel, must be accurate, reliable and trusted. "These standards must not be compro- mised for the sake of speed. This means all copy will receive appropriate editing, being ubbed, checked and if necessary legalled, before it is made available online. Style must be followed and, regardless of delivery channel, the policy of correcting errors quickly and openly must be adhered to." In meetings with staff, Jaspan has rein- orced and extended this message, saying he wants Age journalism to create waves, o probe deeply, offering a richer form of eporting, more analysis and understanding and to promote what is generally regarded as the paper's strength -- investigations and value-added content. "With a growing audience coming to heage.com.au for news as it happens we need to re-think what we offer those readers in the paper next day. "So we will always put a premium on the quality of our journalists, their expertise and high grade levels of contacts to be able to exclusively break news and expose what's really going on. "Those stories may often remain with the paper, unless time critical, as the papers working in concert with online can then powerfully set the agenda using text, pictures, slide shows, audience and video to provide the complete package. "In the case of a very big story, and utilis- ing all this media power, we are able to cre- ate the equivalent of a perfect media story. All on our own." News executives at The Age believe that significant gains have already been made to- wards meeting the goals of greater integration. Newly-appointed multimedia journalism editor and member of the 16-member steer- ing committee Martin Daly is expanding the use of multimedia packages and encourag- ing more staff blogs, notably Jim Schembi on film, Barney Zwartz on religion and Matthew Ricketson on media. Photographic manager Viki Lasacris works closely with Daly on most days to pro- duce stunning photo galleries online. Another innovation, by Online editor Simon Johanson, is the use of animated versions of The Age's iconic cartoonists John Spooner and Andrew Dyson -- brought to life by designer Simon Rankin. But it is in breaking news -- where speed is essential -- that Japan, Foley and other Age editorial executives consider the biggest breakthrough is being achieved. Deb Cuthbertson, online chief of staff and another member of The Age's steering committee, says she is seeing increased web awareness from the paper's news reporters. The Age Newsroom of the Future steering commit tee: (lef t to right) Mar tin Daly, Michelle Wisdom (coordinator), Leigh Henningham, Steve Foley, Bill Birnbauer, Andrew Jaspan, Simon Johanson, Matthew Ricketson, Deb Cuthbertson, Shane Green, Carolyn Jones. Absent: Louise Graham, Clea Hincks, Melissa Fyfe, Michael Short, Matt Martel, Karl Quinn. m c s b m cq fo h to re a a v th n in The Age Newsroom of the Future steering committee: (left to right) Martin Daly Michelle news
August September 2007