Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A magazine approach to newspapers

Not quite sure how this is going to work out or even where it's going, but ...

Reading the interview with Tina Brown in the Telegraph a couple of things jumped out and got my synapses firing.

First, she describes The Daily Beast as

“more a magazine approach to newspapers than it is a pure information journalism site”

And then:

She has 25 staff in New York, but uses the flexibility of the internet to use the services of a wide range of contributors. “With the Beast, we’re creating a sort of virtual newsroom all over the world. When we’re covering Mumbai I can suddenly activate five brilliant journalists who know much more about the subject than anyone I can send from head office.”
For some reason that last par reminded me of Monocle and its founder Tyler Brule's claim to have a better network of bureaus than many newspapers:

Referring to the lengthy pieces of international reportage in the launch issue, he said: "Coming from anywhere in British journalism, what's great is that we'll send someone [overseas] for 10 days, where the traditional thing on British newspapers is to think, can we get away with sending someone to Nairobi for two days and get some agency pictures in?"

Tuck and Brûlé insist that no copy in the launch issue was driven by PRs, press releases or news wires. Tuck said: "Every story has come from someone on the ground saying, I'll tell you what the most important story is, I'll tell you what you should be interested in".

The title has a London-based editorial team of 18, including three editorial bureaux editors in New York, Zurich and Tokyo. The "lean staff" based in its London offices, also home to Winkreative, will be supplemented by a growing network of global contributors.

Tuck said Brûlé's vision was "swimming against the tide" of cutbacks of international news organisations' staff levels. "It's not a reflection on the paper I come from, but it really feels like a statement of quality, and that's the most amazing thing — when people come in to see it, they can't quite believe the commitment to journalism." (from Press Gazette 23/2/07)

Perhaps where this is going is making a very sketchy tenuous link with the ideas that have been floating around recently about newspapers needing to serve narrow niches rather than broad demographic ledges.

More ideas welcome!

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