Today’s horror

1. Presumably, the disengaged journos haven’t given a damn about Nashville up till now. Well, that’s a-gonna change.

2. And by “reset” is meant (hat tip: Jim Romenesko) that you’re all fired, but you’re free to apply for your job again in the vibrant, scientific-type world that’s the future … today!


For the past month, I’ve been telling you in my Sunday column about some of the things we’re doing and thinking about inside The Tennessean newsroom.

Today, we took a bold step forward in our evolution. I want to make sure you – our readers – get a sneak peek directly from me at what’s happening inside 1100 Broadway.

I’m confident you’ll love the end result: we’re promising a stronger, more interesting Tennessean delivered by a highly engaged group of journalists who care about Nashville.

The bottom line is that we’re embarking on an ambitious project to create the newsroom of the future, right here in Nashville. We are testing an exciting new structure that is geared toward building a dynamic, responsive newsroom. This is a “reset” for us, an entirely different way of operating that gives us more reporters and columnists and puts them even closer to the communities they cover. Our goal is to empower them to be more focused on YOUR needs and interests.

We will use scientific principles even more than before to listen to what our readers want and act accordingly. In other words, our judgment will improve because our listening is improving.

So what does that mean? Current positions in our newsroom are changing dramatically, and every job in the newsroom is being redefined. Instead, we’re starting from square one with a new approach and a new set of jobs. Our employees will have the opportunity to choose the jobs they want to apply for.

By this fall, you’ll see a shift in coverage. We’re adding a reporter to cover University of Tennessee athletics, focusing two reporters on the comings-and-goings of Nashville’s lively retail scene and adding a reporter focused on tourism. We’ll have a four-person investigative team whose important mission is to serve as the watchdogs of the community. And we’ll have several columnists, including a metro columnist, a second sports columnist, a columnist focused on telling neighborhood and human-interest stories, and a columnist to write about food and the food culture in Metro Nashville. Also new: we’ll have staffers whose job it is to talk to, and engage with, the community.


Nashville is a vibrant, growing city. And just as it is experiencing a resurgence, so is The Tennessean. We’ve been in this community for more than 100 years, and we’re continually reinventing ourselves – just like Nashville itself.

As I’ve said before, our purpose is to impact and influence a better quality of life in Middle Tennessee. We see this new newsroom as our biggest step to date to making sure that we can fulfill that purpose, every day.

(Stefanie Murray, executive editor, The Tennessean)


Comments: 2

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This reminds me of the Wichita Eagle’s newsroom reset in 1995 or 6. Every job redefined. The upshot was that the paper immediately got worse, and as far as I know it’s never recovered.

I can’t speak to every job, but I can say that in my department (news design and production) management did not have the courage of its convictions. Part of the new futuristic era was to have no dedicated copy editors, with the various reporting “teams” responsible for producing finished copy. In practice, they told the design desk (us) to edit the copy in addition to our full-time production duties because the reporting teams weren’t up to the task. This turned out exactly as you’d expect.

For a top-to-bottom reimagining to work, it has to a) stick to the original plan unless it’s clear that it’s not working, and b) change course if necessary. Wichita did neither; we can hope the Tennessean will do better.



Jonathan Kaufman

Update: The Ebola virus spreads to Gannett’s plantation in Pensacola, which already gulls the readers with a heaping helping of USA Today readyprint. This paper is (sound the cymbals, beat the drums) adding two, count ’em, two whole reporters, but to downhold the furniture budget it’s also eliminating two copy editor jobs thanks to “production efficiency,” which means any pages not already made up in a “design studio” in Nashville will be made up in a design studio in Nashville.



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