These are slides for a workshop on restructuring student media organizations for a digital-first approach. The workshop is part of the Journalism, Leadership & Management Conference at Iowa State University.
Digital First News:Structure for ChangeSteve ButtryJournalism, Leadership & Management ConferenceJune 21, 2013#jlmc13
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Action drives change• Concentrate more on changing what youdo than on changing the org chart• Structural change should follow changein action• Organize to produce content & covernews, not to manufacture newspapers
C3• Complete Community Connection• What’s the complete universitycommunity?• What are the university community’sinformation jobs to be done?
C3• Community content• Personal content (using social media, notcompeting)• Entertainment• Business connection services• Enriched news
Mobile strategy• Is your university community onsmartphones?• Do you have a mobile leader for yournewsroom?• Do journos gather news w/ mobile?• Is your sales staff selling mobile?• Are you developing apps?
Digital First student mediaLessons from TCU’s Schieffer School ofJournalism, with thanks to:• Andrew Chavez, director of digital media• Aaron Chimbel, journalism professor• John Lumpkin, director of Schieffer School
TCU student media• Launched TCU360 website (separate stafffrom newspaper & broadcast) 2011-12• Digital-first content team (separate print& broadcast production) 2012-13• Roxo, independent student PR/ad agency• Image magazine is separate• the109, community news site
TCU student media• University-owned• Student Publications Committee ensuresstudent freedom• Selection of leaders moving this yearfrom SPC to Schieffer School faculty
TCU student media• Professional (not student) APmembership• Won Texas APME award vs. professionalcompetition
Lessons from TCU“Theres no such thing as too muchcommunication. Thats probably stating theobvious but its really true with an org thatsstructured like this. Not only does it keepeveryone moving in the same direction, it keepsfiefdoms from emerging when theres a vacuumof communication and avoids the parachutemanagement phenomenon when somethingdoes go wrong.” – Andrew Chavez
“Initially there was a bit of a rebellion againstmeeting culture.” – Andrew Chavez• Tried to cut down on meetings & use morepassive communication & brief huddles. It didntwork.• Resumed daily news meetings, 2 at first, now 1• “Big picture” meetings w/ leadership team once aweek. Usually w/ assignment on a particulartopic. End w/ whatever-is-bothering-you session.Everyone leaves w/ action items.Lessons from TCU
How content flows• Digital team produces & posts virtually alldigital content• Text, still photos & video in most stories• Broadcast team adds studio context,graphics• Print team adds wire, headlines, pullquotes, graphic elements
Leadership structure• Executive editor• 3 Managing editors (digital, print, broadcast)• 10 team leaders:1. Topical teams (academics, administration,student orgs, sports, etc.)2. Production teams (print, broadcast)3. Specialty teams (data, engagement, visuals,projects)
Whats the smartest operational move youve made?“Early on it was empowering people to do whatever it takesto create signature content. So when something like thedrug bust happened, we knocked down every barrier wecould to get people in and let them do their job. That meantstreamlining the editorial workflow, jettisoning extramanagement layers and the like. And thats what madepeople step back and say, ‘Oh, crap. This digital thing is forreal and it works.’ That creates a hierarchy and it allowseveryone to really flex and show what the platform,unconstrained, can really do. All of that sort of goes back tojust being agile, too.” – Andrew ChavezLessons from TCU
“I cant speak highly enough of automation.” –Andrew Chavez• The more you automate, the more time peoplespend reporting the news• W/ high turnover, automation is a greatsubstitute for institutional knowledge• Make sure it takes as few clicks as possible tosend e-mail newsletter by pulling from the sitesRSS.• Export from Web CMS to print productLessons from TCU
“Resist every temptation for the legacy tail to wag thedigital dog.” – Andrew Chavez“We have put in more stringent deadlines for eventstories.” – Aaron ChimbelLessons from TCU
Course corrections• Changing advising structure this fall. Wasstill based on old model w/ print,broadcast &web advisers• Adjusted student leadership structurebetween semesters