Saturday, November 04, 2006

So just what is the
Gannett Information Center?

Most of the fanfare yesterday about introduction of the Gannett Information Center centered on the CEO's memo introducing it as "a way to gather and disseminate news and information across all platforms, 24/7. The Information Center will let us gather the very local news and information that customers want, then distribute it when, where and how our customers seek it ... The Information Center, frankly, is the newsroom of the future ... it will be platform agnostic: News and information will be delivered to the right media - be it newspapers, online, mobile, video or ones not yet invented - at the right time. Our customers will decide which they prefer."

Much of that will sound familiar to those of us who gather here to write and talk about what we're doing to accomplish many of those same goals. We don't have a new name or a plan to roll it out in one-size-fits-all across newsrooms, but there's a lot to like about what Gannett is saying.

There's a detailed FAQ posted on Romenesko that you ought to read. The best reporting so far is at Wired News, where they focus on the effort to incorporate distributed reporting ("crowdsourcing" is the term Wired uses) to involve readers in newsgathering efforts.

I have heard Gannett editors express concern in recent months about at least one aspect of the plan. The company says changing the name from newsroom to Information Center recognizes that "[w]hile news remains our preeminent mission, other information – especially local information – is increasingly in demand. Calendars, recommendations, lifestyle topics as well as neighborhood level stories are all new elements..." In early stages of their discussions, at least, there were plans that some editors thought extended the newsroom into areas more akin to advertorial, or outright advertising activity.

Please take time to get up to speed on the Gannett moves, and please share new information about what they're doing and how it's being received in newsrooms. We want to learn all we can – pro and con – to help navigate our own transformations.
–Howard Weaver

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:24 PM

    One of the most interesting elements of this push is how some Gannett papers have used to to do edgy reporting. The couple that have been mentioned in various reports that most impressed me where tracking down tax issues and sewer system problems. We've recently launched a new website that will enable readers to post local news and commentary. (If you're interested in seeing a beta version, the address is (for Minnesota)) But at least so far, this is mostly seen as a way to share basic news and opinions, not the watchdog elements that are outlined in this plan.

    -Anders Gyllenhaal