Monday, August 20, 2012

What does 'digital first' mean?

You're going to be hearing a lot about "digital first" this year at The Orion.
Kacey Gardner
Editor-in-Chief Kacey Gardner has made it her mission to bring the paper into the digital age by emphasizing the importance of reaching readers through, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. But what does that mean, day to day, in The Orion newsroom?
The most obvious change from last year will be the presence of an assigning editor in the newsroom every day. Managing Editor Jenna Valdespino each morning will create a coverage plan and assign reporters and photographers to events on and off campus with the expectation that the stories from those assignments will be reported as they happen on Twitter, teased on Facebook and uploaded to the website the same day they happen. Section editors and the website staff will be on hand to get stories, videos and photos ready for posting.
Some of those stories will only appear on the website. Others will be rewritten or repurposed for the newspaper with few changes. Some will also be used for a daily video update on the website. And still others will turn into longer newspaper pieces for The Orion. It's going to be up to the editors to figure out how best to tell those stories and present them to readers.
For reporters, "digital first" means understanding that news needs to be reported as it happens (or soon after), that the photo and video functions of a smartphone are important newsgathering tools and that Twitter will be the way Orion readers first hear about most stories.
Plans are in the works to upgrade and to publish a new, more sophisticated Orion app for phones and tablets.
The ink-and-paper newspaper is not going away, but it needs to become just one of many ways The Orion tells readers the stories that affect their lives.

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