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Web Worker Careers: The New Newsroom

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Almost every day over the past year there’s a new apocalyptic story about the demise of newspapers and print journalism.

In recent weeks, the subject has reached a crescendo with the strategic power plays between Rupert Murdoch (s nws), Google (s goog) and Microsoft’s Bing (s msft).

However, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel forĀ  journalism, with the story of the Ann Arbor Chronicle and its success as a post-digital news organization, available exclusively online. It was founded before The Ann Arbor News, the local printed daily, closed.

What’s of particular interest is the untethered, web worker philosophy underpinning the Chronicle’s success and the incredible story of the husband-and-wife duo — Dave Askins and Mary Morgan — who act as editor and publisher.

The team’s working practices and tools will be very familiar to web workers:

  • Askins and Morgan work out of the Workantile Exchange, a local coworking community.
  • The team publishes 10 “heavily reported and edited posts” each week, edit columnists and sell advertising, using a blogging platform.
  • A one-hour editorial meeting takes place each week in their home office.
  • Twitter is used for story leads (often republished as a local feed) from readers, and a dozen Google Alerts tracked with key phrases.

The Nieman Journalism Labs article focuses on the punishing work rate that Askins and Morgan have, but also on the journalistic freedom they both enjoy, as well as the conversational nature of the publication they have created.

There are lessons here for larger news organizations struggling to transition into digital culture, but notably the Chronicle’s success is a vindication of many of the trends, technologies and themes we’ve been covering here at WebWorkerDaily: coworking, conversational media, use of social media and working from home.

Read more at the Nieman Journalism Lab’s WordPress, Twitter, the Elks Club: 10 new routines at a news startup

How do you see the future for print journalism?