Summary:

Gannett is rolling out a new newsroom template for its newspapers. It’s called the Information Center and has already been tried in part at…

Gannett is rolling out a new newsroom template for its newspapers. It’s called the Information Center and has already been tried in part at eight papers and in full at three more: Des Moines, Sioux Falls and Brevard. Gannett CEO Craig Dubrow explains in a staff memo (via Romenesko), describing a platform agnostic, 24/7, local-oriented, crowd-sourced enterprise: “What they found is remarkable: Breaking news on the Web and updating for the newspaper draws more people to both those media. Asking the community for help, gets it – and delivers the newspaper into the heart of community conversations once again. Rich and deep databases with local, local information gathered efficiently are central to the whole process. The changes impact all media, and the public has approved. Results include stronger newspapers, more popular Web sites and more opportunities to attract the customers advertisers want.”
– En route, ways to link the Information Center with advertising: “Simply, appealing to more and different readers helps bring us more and different advertisers. A key facet of the Information Center is understanding our customers in ways we never have before – and that will help our advertisers reach the people they need.”
Wired News has more. Michael Maness, VP-strategic planning of news, is a chief architect of the project, which he describes as a “huge restructuring.” WN reports that newsroom organization is changing from departments like metro and sports to desks: local, digital, data, community conversations, custom content and multimedia. (ArgusLeader.com doesn’t even have a nav link to national news: the options are local, region, state and business.)
Jennifer Carroll, VP-new media content: “We’ve already had some really amazing results with the crowdsourcing element of this. … We’ve learned that no one wants to read a 400-column-inch investigative feature online. But when you make them a part of the process they get incredibly engaged.” This is not an easy sell to newsrooms — it’s easy to see why — although Gannett is promising it won’t lead to layoffs. Retraining, yes.
For those who want even more detail, WN contributor Jeff Howe is publishing transcripts and internal Gannett documents at his site, Crowdsourcing.com

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