Gannett FAQ on the Information Center

Jeff Howe posts an entire Gannett internal FAQ on its new information center initiative. There’s some good information there, but here’s an important bit:

Q. What is the purpose of the Information Center?
A. The Information Center will enable us to gather and disseminate multimedia news and information in a way more suited to the needs of our customers today. We will deliver the content our audiences want at any time, anywhere and to any device. As print newsrooms were geared to the scheduling demands of the daily newspaper, the Information Center will be geared to the 24/7 demands of our customers. We will provide more hyper-local information, more databases (restaurants, entertainment, schools, local sports, etc.), more interactive opportunities, more video and more breaking news than we ever have before.

Q. Why is it called the Information Center and not the newsroom?
A. Increasingly, we are realizing that our customers are interested in much more than news from our products. While news remains our preeminent mission, other information – especially local information – is increasingly in demand. Calendars, recommendations, lifestyle topics as well as neighborhood level stories are all new elements that will have ongoing coverage across platforms. We are also embracing community interactivity in our sites with increased involvement. Changing the name acknowledges this additional responsibility and emphasizes that we are gathering news and information for websites, mobile devices and other products as well as for our daily newspapers.

The Information Center concept gets at something that has been imperative for newspapers to do since the rise of the Web. It’s been patently obvious that the Web presented a great opportunity for newspapers to transform themselves into the kind of total information hubs — part local library and part town hall — that puts them in a dominate position within the communities they serve. I’ve said this before: newspapers are real good at gathering reams of data and reporting only some of it. Now we can report all of it and more, and provide a better public service.

Newspapers haven’t wanted to spend the money. Gannett seems to be saying, “We’re not going to spend more money, but we are going to shift resources.” We’ll see if that works.

One resource that could help is the Mechanical Turk.


[tags]crowdsourcing, gannett, journalism, newspapers, communities[/tags]

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