Thursday, July 05, 2007

A closer look at Atlanta

This story from Creative Loafing (a venerable, capable alternative weekly in Atlanta) offers the best overview I've come across on how changes are moving ahead at the Journal-Constitution since the innovative reorganization was announced in February.

You may recall that the plan first cut 70 people from a 500-person newsroom and then reorganized the remainder into just four divisions: 50 staffers were assigned to "Enterprise," responsible for "the bulk of the investigative stories, long-form narratives, personality profiles and government exposés that will appear in print." The counterpart is "News & Information," where about 170 will cover "everything from Georgia politics to corporate mergers to Braves games, as well as so-called 'mojos,' or mobile journalists, who patrol the streets with laptops and digital cameras looking for features and news. Much of the work ... won't appear in print, but will have a home online."

Production duties occupy the other two newsroom components, divided into Print and Online divisions responsible for producing AJC products.

Is this the right plan? Obviously, it's too soon to tell, and Editor Julia Wallace and others in Atlanta are quick to note that they'll be tweaking and tuning the effort as experience dictates.

But it's clearly an effort worth watching. Somewhat like McClatchy, the privately-held Cox enjoys the advantage of having some time to reorient and refocus to accommodate changing conditions. It's a blessing we dare not waste.

From the story:
Miles Groves, a media analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based firm of Morton Groves, says private ownership gives Cox Newspapers a distinct advantage in the industry's current sky-is-falling climate.

Says Groves: "Cox is one of those companies that will still be around in 20 years because they don't have to answer to analysts and institutional investors who have more loyalty to the market than to the corporate mission."

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