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A Duke alum on the new media front lines…

One of my colleagues at the Mercury News recently passed around a copy of a Fortune magazine story about The Washington Post and its race to re-invent itself. The lead of the story featured Barry Svrluga, a Duke grad from 1993. And his anecdote demonstrates just how dramatically — and quickly — newspapers are changing:

Barry Svrluga, a 36-year-old baseball writer for The Washington Post, was on his way to the barber when an e-mail pinged his BlackBerry telling him that the Washington Nationals had sent two struggling pitchers to the minor leagues. Svrluga detoured to Starbucks, wrote a 572-word commentary on his laptop and posted it to his blog, Nationals Journal at washingtonpost.com. After his haircut he swung by the Post’s newsroom to do a live question-and-answer session online with fans. That night, after filing a story for the newspaper, which he calls the “$0.35 edition” in his blog, Svrluga recorded a ten-minute podcast for the Web site, with sound bites from team officials and players.

Like most reporters at the Post, Svrluga has become platform-agnostic, which is a nice way of saying that his bosses are no longer big believers in print. Today a small army of bloggers, podcasters, chatroom hosts, radio voices and TV talking heads, as well as a few old-fashioned ink-stained wretches, populates the newsroom at the 131-year-old Post. They understand that Donald E. Graham, the chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Co., is hurrying the paper into the digital future. “If circulation is dropping,” Svrluga explains, “and we’re trying to figure out how people are going to get their news, who am I to say no to trying out new avenues?”

You can read the rest of the Fortune piece here…

2 Responses

  1. Janet, welcome! I think there’s something to that. The Chronicle is particularly worried about location of a new facility. But it’s valid to ask how much a physical space or location will matter given that technology allows us to be connected at all times. And a couple people have commented to me in recent months: “There won’t be a Next Newsroom, it will be virtual.”Check out our profile of The New Haven Independent, which is newsroom-less.On the other hand, I live in Silicon Valley. And even with all that technology, people still come here to be a part of the start-up ecosystem because they still find value and inspiration that comes from the in-person connection. Yes, you can start-up a tech company anywhere now. But your venture investors will still ask you to move here at some point so they can sit in your conference room to talk. Face time still matters here.The question for me, then, is how can we create a space that facilitates and enhances those interactions? And what kind of interactions do we want people to have in a new newsroom that might be different than what occurs today?

  2. Chris, am I wrong, or does this really say “who needs a newsroom?” Regardless of what Stanford is sinking into its own…Been seeing your articles; nice to know you’re a Dukie.

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