Temple University, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the American Press Institute, and four metropolitan newspapers have teamed up to solve one of the most pressing issues facing the industry: digital best practices. Thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the Knight Foundation, the Knight-Temple Table Stake Project will take a look at how metro newspapers can innovate and become leaders in digital media.
The four newspapers include the Dallas Morning News, the Philadelphia Media Network—which includes the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com—the Miami Herald and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“We’re changing the process of how to think about a story,” said Arlene Morgan, assistant dean for external affairs at Temple’s School of Media and Communication and co-leader of the project. “What’s the morning meeting look like? What’s the digital perspective? How do you update throughout the day? It’ll be interesting to watch how you change culture.”
According to Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism, each newsroom will receive a team to help teach and develop best digital practices including video, graphics, social media, mobile, story development for the Web, monetization, and more.
Aminda Marqués Gonzalez, executive editor and vice president of The Miami Herald, recognizes the difficulty in transitioning into a digital newsroom and said she’s hoping this project will help speed up the process.
“For nearly a decade, we’ve been working to shift to a truly digital news operation, restructuring the newsroom several times, changing jobs and functions and even the way we run our meetings—and we’ve made progress. But we’re still not where we need to be,” Gonzalez said. “We are looking at this project as an accelerant.”
In addition, the American Press Institute will conduct field research to share industry-wide. Temple University will also use information obtained from the project to develop curriculum for journalism students.
“Newsrooms are at a turning point in the digital revolution— resistance to change has fallen away and they are urgently searching for new ways to quickly, efficiently and effectively transform in the face of new digital realities,” Preston said. “At the same time, resources and best practices to take on this transformation are limited. That’s why the Knight-Temple project is so important.”
Morgan said they are expecting to see results by the end of the summer. “I hope at the end of this, we can be a classroom for the industry. It does mean you have to think differently about what your job is. You have to think outside of the box today, and the box has changed.”