What Newspapers Do Great!


Newspapers still rock and roll all night.

Newspapers have taken a beating over the last few years.  And, yes, I’m among the guilty.

But I love newspapers. Being an ink-stained wretch for many years gave me an appreciation for newspapers and the business of collecting and distributing news.

And while newspapers have been turtle slow in adopting new technologies and embracing the benefits of social and digital media – they do many things extremely well.

Here are a few of those things:

1. News Rooms: Creating Collaboration

You have to work in a newsroom to truly appreciate the dynamic.  It’s like a beehive (and can sound like a hive with all the buzzing phones and conversational droning).

Newsrooms are collaborative places.  Subject matter experts are all around you.  There’s the business reporter.  Down the way is the sports department.  There’s the government and police reporters.  Over here is an editor who covered education for 10 years.  Newsrooms surround you with smart people in an open and transparent environment.

The result?  Collaboration.  Camaraderie.

This is why newspapers foster loyalty and a sense of teamwork better than most other businesses.

2. What Business has a better Mission?

This is how the editor of the Dallas Morning News described the newspaper’s founders back in 1906:

“They built The News upon the rock of truth and righteousness, conducting it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity, and acknowledging the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question.”

Not much has changed in the last 100 plus years.  Newspapers are excellent at crafting and delivering on their missions of providing fair and accurate news to their readers.  One of the greatest strengths of the industry is this focus on purpose.

Newspapers excel at getting everyone in the organization – from the mailroom to the newsroom – to buy into the greater mission of the business.  Few people working for newspapers believe the job is about selling advertisements.  In fact, most employees would scoff at that notion.  Being part of a newspaper is bigger than that.

3. The Kings of Process

Many people believe incorrectly that newspapers are filled with chaos.  In fact, the opposite is true. While chaos often erupts around newspapers, they rarely succumb to it.

For example, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, it sent the United States – and much of the U.S. government – into chaos.  But not newspapers.

Even newspapers at the center of the attacks produced amazing editions the next day – filled with news, photographs and analysis.

This is because newspapers have systems in place.  They have processes that have been devised and refined to the point of perfection.  Every story – every article – goes through a specific process in how it is researched and written, how it is edited and proofread, and finally how it is displayed and published.  The most amazing thing about a newspaper is that a brand-new one is produced every single day.

Have I missed something?  What do you think that newspaper do really well?

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  1. Beyond the Wire » Worthy on the Web – Week of March 12 - March 12, 2010

    [...] What newspapers do great [...]

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