Convergence: News As You Like It

convergence panel

Convergence? Pronounce it "necessary."

That's the way the Denver Post's online editor Demetria Gallegos and Post reporter Christine Tatum explain it. Tatum, newly elected president of the Society of Professional Journalists and honored for improvement and protection of journalism, works with Gallegos to see that the Post's principal product — news — is presented to customers in the form they want it.

That means the product comes via television, radio, online sources and even web logs (blogs) maintained by some reporters. It requires television and newspaper reporters to write for the Internet and print journalists to report on TV news broadcasts. News facts aren't kept in a reporter's notebook. They are published on the Internet where they can be shared — but not with rivals.

Convergence means looking at news in a new way: thinking how to break a story and keep it going forward. It requires writing shorter, punchier stories for online or television audiences. Gallegos said it also means enticing the non-print audience to rely on the Post's reputation for solid reporting and creditable coverage. It reflects the change from "mainstream" journalism to "my stream" journalism. Consumer appetite drives the market. Convergence provides an information stream to tap into.

Convergence is necessary because newspaper circulation continues a decades-long decline. Online news venues have developed a small but increasing revenue stream.

Convergence is difficult but possible, in part because tools that allow print people to work in other mediums are getting easier to use. Grudgingly, television people learn that every writer is not a "boring talking head." Print journalists learn that every electronic journalist is not Jerry Springer in disguise. Each medium has a lot to figure out, but also a lot to offer.

Christine TatumDemetria Gallegos

Gallegos and Tatum believe that through convergence, journalists tell the news consumer: "Count on us to sort out what's important."

— Glennis McNeal, Oregon Press Women



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