Multi-platform journalism in the 21st century

If you still haven’t quite “got” the whole online, text message, multi-media “thing” that is going on in our trade, then we may have found an article that can help to explain the whole process.

In this era of “integration”, “real-time” reporting, podcasts and downloadable news feeds, where CND stands for Continuous News Desk, there is a piece by Washington Post news reporter Frank Ahrens in the American Journalism Review (oh so helpfully available online) which offers some useful insights.

Ahrens writes:

It’s May 25, and the verdicts are being read in the government’s fraud case against former Enron Corp executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling.

They’re in a courtroom in Houston, and I’m in Washington, sitting in front of a computer on the Continuous News Desk in the newsroom of the Washington Post. The CND is the Post‘s intermediary between the newspaper and our Web site, as well as the television networks that feature our reporters and Washington Post Radio, a venture the paper started in March. To my left is a desktop television. To the right, a live microphone to Washington Post Radio. Pressed against my right ear is a set of headphones.

I am listening to the verdicts being read on CNBC with my left ear and hearing the radio host’s questions in my right ear. As the verdicts are reported on TV, I repeat them on the radio. Once we reported CNBC’s news on our radio station, I would begin blogging. Moments later, I would appear live on CNN Headline News in the small TV studio in the Post’s newsroom just behind the CND.

At some point, hours later in this day, I would write an actual newspaper story.

Nightmare scenario? Or a wonderful, multi-skilling future?

OK, it may not be sport, and it may all refer to events in America. But what they do in the US media today, you can be sure that some version will be implemented in a news room or on a sports desk near you some time soon. If it hasn’t already started to happen already.

So, to read the whole article by Ahrens, click here (with thanks to Roy Greenslade’s blog for pointing out this piece).

And share your experiences of how your media outlet is coping with digital “challenges”, as managers are fond of calling them, by adding your comments here. What should the SJA be doing to reflect these changes? Let us know.

And for details of how to become an SJA member, click here.