Coming Down From the Ivory Tower

Convener and note taker: Rick Hall, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


  • Chris Muldron
  • Tom Warhaver

General ideas discussed

Our discussion turned out to be sort of a follow-up to an earlier session on “getting to know your neighbor” or connecting with the community. Much, of course, has been written and discussed about these general ideas. So, while we broke little (if any) new ground, we sort of ping-ponged our way into some small-but-specific things we ought to consider in our newsrooms.

*  We sometimes act like we know more than we do; the public doesn’t like that.

*  We reinforce the perception of being detached when we report only the extreme sides of an issue.

*  The daily newsroom budget is our most-used tool. So we need to do change how we use that budget. Make it a took to reflect what we want in our coverage.

*  Online ‘hits,’ while not necessarily an accurate measurement of what connects with readers, is at least one indication. They can serve as a wake-up call for reporters and editors.

*  Our industry has talked of many ways to connect with and engage readers.  We simply need to move forward and practice those principles.

*  Management needs to create buy-in for the principles and then provide resources (most often simply ‘time’) to accomplish them.  Buy-in is most important at the assignment editor or line editor level.

*  Photographers are seemingly well connected to the community because they must leave the newsroom to do their jobs. Reporters should do as well.

*  Business editors would do well to develop relationship with the ad sales folks not to be unduly influenced, but because ad sales folks are well connected to a certain part of the community.

*  Explain, explain, explain what we do, why we do it, etc.

*  We need to be willing take the criticism.

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