Monday, December 04, 2006

Gannett's newsroom has mojo: Decentralized, online and hyperlocal

The future of the newsroom is news without the room according to at least one media organization, an article by the Washington Post's Frank Ahrens suggests.

Newspaper chain Gannett is experimenting with mobile journalists or "mojos" who rove the community and report in depth on whatever is happening in the local community -- no story is too small.

Darkness falls on a chilly Winn-Dixie parking lot in a dodgy part of North Fort Myers just before Thanksgiving. Chuck Myron sits in his little gray Nissan and types on an IBM ThinkPad laptop plugged into the car's cigarette lighter. The glow of the screen illuminates his face.

Myron, 27, is a reporter for the Fort Myers News-Press and one of its fleet of mobile journalists, or "mojos." The mojos have high-tech tools -- ThinkPads, digital audio recorders, digital still and video cameras -- but no desk, no chair, no nameplate, no land line, no office. They spend their time on the road looking for stories, filing several a day for the newspaper's Web site, and often for the print edition, too. Their guiding principle: A constantly updated stream of intensely local, fresh Web content -- regardless of its traditional news value -- is key to building online and newspaper readership.

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