More compelling multimedia news is needed, say online editors

The editors of and The Dallas Morning News agree that print and online newsrooms will, and must, integrate.

Training journalists to report in a multimedia format makes economic sense and creates better, more compelling news stories that attract different audiences to the news organization, they said.

Len Apcar, editor in chief of the, and George Rodrigue, managing editor of The Dallas Morning News, discussed the benefits of newsroom integration at the 7th International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin on April 7, 2006.

“Integration immediately ignites an explosion of creativity on both sides of the newsroom,” Apcar said. He added that the was able to develop a variety of Web-specific content once integration became a priority, including journalist blogs, online video, and podcasts. These new mediums are a way to ?tell stories in a way that the paper cannot.”

Rodrigue agreed, describing the immense popularity of a story the Dallas paper covered using moment-by-moment journalist blogs. The paper sent reporters to Texas high schools to cover college recruiting day for high school athletes. It turned out to be the most popular story on their Web site that day.

“The stuff that you don’t think about in print is the stuff that works best on the web,” Rodrigue said.

Many journalists are also excited about the integration because it gives them the opportunity to learn new skills, Rodrigue said. The Dallas paper has trained photographers to shoot video and sets up “multimedia pods” where staffers who “get it” can help others learn how to put packages together.

“It’s a good way to make the most of talented people,” Rodrigue said, adding that the integrated content “brings home the emotional power of a story.”

ISOJ 2006: Integration of News Room, from Knight Center on Vimeo.