Job One: Deciding How Best to Tell Each Story

May 31, 2006
Category: Archive

The future of news is about change and innovation. We can thrive in the
future if we build on our strengths, but realize that news isn’t just
about us. The power is changing from media to users. However, we can
lead if we build on these four cornerstones.
Public Interest:
Our basic job is to inform, educate and make sense of the news, whether
it is a small daily story or a major project. We are the watchdogs. We
succeed with our enterprise. It is our responsibility. Democracy
depends on us. We use our values. We use our credibility. We report the
truth as fairly and honestly as we are able. This sets us apart from
our competitors.
Community Relevance: Our
communities are going through drastic change. We are relevant because
we are connected to our communities. We must tell the stories that are
most important to our readers/users and potential readers/users. We
must ask why we are telling a story and explain its context. We must
take advantage of our unique expertise and our connection to various
groups within our communities.
Interactivity: We
provide the news you want when you want it, however you want it. We
bring communities together on our Web sites so that we are the town
squares for the discussion of news and ideas. We make readers/users
part of the conversation of news.  
What is the best way, from our readers’ perspective, to tell a
particular story? We tap the talents of our professional staff to tell
stories in creative ways that delight our readers. Our toughest
competitor is our readers’ time. Let’s respect our readers by giving
them news and information that is easy to find, use and understand.
What are the key elements to our published newspaper? What works better
online? What needs to be told as a narrative tale? What works better as
a graphic, a list, a Q&A, a photo-and-graphic package? The Web is
potentially a much richer way to tell stories than just on paper. We
haven’t yet begun to imagine all the possibilities of how we can do
things on the Web. This is what makes the future of news so exciting if
we are able to take our strengths and build on them.