Knight Center
Knight Center


U.S. newspaper creates open newsroom concept to encourage community involvement

Bloggers, citizen journalists, professional journalists and newspaper readers all will be working/reading side-by-side in the new open community newsroom concept that the Connecticut-based Journal Register Company has announced, reported Editor & Publisher.

The company said that as part of its "digital first" approach, its newspaper, The Reigister Citizen, is being relocated to an old warehouse in order to allow for more "community access and reader involvement in the newsgathering process."

This new open community newsroom will include a "community media lab" where community bloggers and contributors can work; a "community meeting room" that will serve as the training space for the newspaper's Community Journalism School; a "newsroom cafe" with coffee, muffins and free WiFi for the community; and open archives going back 120 years that readers can peruse. View artists' rendering of the newsroom here.

Blogger Bud Wilkinson said that while the "newsosaur" in him initially screamed "that while it’s easy to tell a person on the phone that 'I’m on deadline and can’t talk,' telling a person to bugger off to their face will be a little more difficult," he admitted he sees two reasons this open newsroom idea is smart: "It will provide tips for news stories that might otherwise go unreported because it literally brings the community into the news-gathering process and it provides content for free."

Still, Wilkinson goes on to lament, "This is what the news business has become. It’s no longer about covering news – digging into corruption at city hall, discovering wasteful use of taxpayer dollars or helping those who are powerless to help themselves - but about providing content. It doesn’t matter that the content’s largely filler and fluff, poorly written and with gaping holes. All that matters is that the website’s frequently updated with 'fresh content that’s often flawed and incomplete. Who needs a trained, experienced journalist or artful storyteller?"

Matthew Ingram wrote for GigaOM that what is most interesting about this concept is that it doesn't rely on putting up paywalls, as many newspapers are doing, and it really is creating a "new news ecosystem." Ingram wrote, "It’s refreshing to see a newspaper publisher not just talk about going “digital first” but actually put his money where his mouth is."

Other Related Headlines:
» Register Citizen (Register Citizen to move office, open Newsroom Cafe)

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