Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Springfield News-Leader: Out with the old, in with the new

On the same day that Ron Davis in his Chatter blog broke the news that veteran reporter Steve Koehler was leaving the Springfield News-Leader after a quarter of a century, the newspaper advertised on JournalismJobs.com for a "data editor."

The advertisement reads:

The News-Leader Media Group in Springfield, Mo., seeks an innovative and passionate editor to lead and shape our efforts to gather, analyze and distribute data for a variety of print and online publications, including newspapers, magazines and Web sites.

The ideal candidate for this position is a journalist with a background in computer-assisted reporting, someone who loves numbers and can help us use those numbers to explain to our readers what is happening around them. We’re looking for a journalist who can engage the community in many different and unique ways and is a fervent defender of federal and state sunshine laws.

The job requires excellent computer, reporting and analytical skills; the ability to cultivate diverse sources and create innovative ways to gather and disseminate data, passion to work with reporters to develop data projects and the polish to represent the company in public – whether before the Chamber of Commerce or an elementary school class. Knowledge of PHP a plus. Because the data editor oversees a staff of five, supervisory skills are also a plus.

We’re a Gannett media company and at the forefront of developing content for multiple print and online platforms. We’re reinventing our newsroom, so you’ll need to be energized by innovation and change. Our reporters and editors create multimedia content – including audio clips, podcasts, videos, photos and photo galleries – and interact with our readers/users through blogs, online forums and beat advisory groups.

I certainly cannot fault the News-Leader for moving into the future, but it seems determined to do so without retaining any institutional memory of its past. Koehler is leaving on his own, as many other veteran News-Leader reporters have done over the years, while others have been shown the door.

It also seems ironic that Koehler, an old-fashioned shoe-leather reporter is heading down the highway only a few days after the News-Leader advertised for a "shopping reporter."

The Springfield News-Leader with all of its efforts to point its way toward the future seems to be forgetting the key to its success is still blanket coverage of Springfield and the surrounding area, something that has to be done by reporters.

Thankfully, that tradition will continue when we see blanket coverage of the shopping beat.

Perhaps I should change the headline on this post to "Springfield News-Leader: Out with the old, out with the news."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No doubt in my mind a printed newspaper has had its day. Magazines and newspapers will go the way of the dinosaur, it will all be online or not at all.