Editor's Weekly: Snapshots of the new media world
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2012 - Dear Beaconites --
Election night at the Beacon turned out to be a free-wheeling adventure in multi-media collaboration. They also capture something more -- a timelapse record of the rapidly changing news ecosystem and of the possibilities that lie ahead for how you might get your news.
As you can see, the Beacon's newsroom was abuzz. At our sleek, white desk in the Nine Center for Public Engagement, reporters who had been covering the campaign and editors who directed that coverage gathered to see how it would all come out. But reporting the results on the Beacon website was only part of what was going on.
Smack in the center of our newsroom, Jim Kirchherr from the Nine Network and Casey Nolen from KSDK were broadcasting updates and analysis. They interviewed Beacon political reporters as well as experts from throughout the region -- political scientists Terry Jones and Andrew Theising, St. Louis American publisher Donald Suggs, former state legislators Joan Bray and Emmy McClelland and more.
While updating the website and broadcasting news, reporters also shared what they were learning through Twitter and Facebook.
Collaboration was the order of the day, just as it had been throughout the campaign. Not seen in the pictures, but very much a part of that effort was St. Louis Public Radio, a partner with the Beacon and Nine Network in the Beyond November political coverage project. Dick Weiss, managing editor of that project, can also be seen in the election night photos. Though the election is over, the collaborative political coverage will continue.
Not long ago, news organizations were defined by the medium they used -- TV, radio or print. Now, the tools of video, audio and text are universally available, and so is access to universal distribution channels.
What hasn't changed is the public's need to sort facts from rumors and the value of knowledgeable perspectives and context. All this is what helps people discern the meaning of developments and decide what to do about them.
All this is the real work of great news organizations. On election night, we focused on bringing you the facts as quickly as possible. But then and in the days since, we focused even more on exploring why the results came out as they did and what might happen as a result. We've used all the tools at our disposal to draw insight from our community and to share facts and insights in whatever ways people find useful.
As you can see from the pictures, this is the new media ecosystem developing before our eyes, and the Beacon and our partners are putting St. Louis on its cutting edge.