Today’s Newsroom Challenge According to Raju Narisetti with The Wall Street Journal


Robert Quigley, professor from UT-Austin, and Raju Narisetti, managing editor from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, speaks during the 13th International Symposium on Online Journalism on Apr. 21, 2012. (Knight Center)

At the second day of ISOJ, keynote speaker Raju Narisetti, managing editor for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, presented us all with a challenge.

But this challenge, according to Narisetti, isn’t about the hubbub over transferring print to an online platform. “If you haven’t done it now, you’re pretty much doomed,” Narisetti said.

So what is the challenge?

“Turning great content into great experiences,” Narisetti said, “Having good content — having smart content — isn’t enough.”

Narisetti believes that journalists have done a good job in general of creating good content with stories, videos, photographs and all sorts of online media. Where the issues lies is putting all of these together and creating a news experience.

He believes that one of the steps to solving this newsroom challenge is bringing reporters and editors together with developers. He said it wasn’t just about putting your newsroom on the same page — you have to put them in the same physical space as well. They need to work side by side to turn the information into a worthy news experience. The problems that were traditionally only for developers, such as analytics and metrics, are all tools that new journalists need to understand.

But as a member of the audience pointed out, advertising is counterproductive to creating a good news experience. Unfortunately, that seems to come with the territory.

“I’m of the opinion that free is very expensive,” Narisetti said concerning ads and webspace. Users have to “pay” for the content in some way or another.

Regardless of users paying by waiting for ads to run out, the user experience is the key issue for all journalists today and not just developers. Narisetti wants to see a direct collaboration between the developers who are responsible for the tech and the reporters who create the content.

“My basic premise is that the future of our business and newsrooms is going to play out at the intersection of tech and content,” Narisetti said.

ISOJ 2012: Raju Narisetti keynote, from Knight Center on Vimeo.