I will go one step further. The 24 hour news cycle is also having a major impact on how traditional news organizations operate. When I was at the NY Post in the early seventies, I once computed that nine or ten different people read each article before it went into print….and each one read each article twice. The reporter, the rewrite person if there was one, the news editor, the city editor, the managing editor, the photo editor, the slot “man”, the rim “man”, the typesetter and the compositor. Any one of those people could catch and fix errors and it was amazing how often the Linotype operators caught errors that no one else did. There are no Linotype operators any more.
Of course, all of that readin’ and writin’ took lots and lots of time, and a two edition paper only had a maximum of 12 hours to do all that work.
In the digital newsroom, we are down to three, two, and sometimes only one person between an article and its publication. Often, established news organizations are “hosting” bloggers over whom there is little or no supervision, but their articles carry the imprimatur of some rather august news organizations.
We are also now in a situation where monthly magazines, weeklies and daily newspapers are all on the same 24 hour news cycle and therefore there is no longer any differentiation between these different types of organizations.
The need for speed was one of the reasons that Jill Abramson was discharged from her position as the executive editor of the New York Times. There were other reasons that Abramson was let go, but the final straw was her insistence upon hiring an assistant managing editor to oversee the digital operation.
The people on the digital side of the operation did not want an additional level of management between them and their 24 hour news cycle. This was made clear by the “New York Times Innovation Report, 2014,” which was a report that focused in the problems in the digital division of the Times organization. The report, which was leaked to Buzzfeed and was published in its entirely by Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, makes it clear that the digital reporters and editors were unhappy with the traditional, strict editorial standards that Abramson wanted to impose on the digital operation.
Their specific unhappiness was triggered by the fact that the traditional editors at the Times did not understand that the 24 news cycle is really the one hour news cycle, or maybe it is the one minute news cycle. If you are the second person to post an article on a breaking story, you’re already an “also ran” in a world where “also rans” do not bring home the bacon.
The fact that the Innovation Report was leaked one day after Abramson was canned was almost as significant as the name of the principal author of the study,. It was authored by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, who is the son of former Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr, the man who fired Abramson, and whom he succeeded on January 1 of this year.
You really can’t make this shit up.