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The newsroom through the ages: From open-plan office to virtual space

The classic newsroom has changed. The key topics of today's communication center are: content first & digital!

The classic image of the “newsroom” has long been consigned to history. In the meantime, content creators outside the media industry have also discovered the newsroom concept as an organizational form. The physical space, which is often seen as THE characteristic of a newsroom, rarely exists in its original form today.

The origin of the newsroom can be found in large media companies. For a more efficient way of working and content production, journalists from various departments gathered in an open-plan office and discussed upcoming topics as well as their placements. It still looks very similar today – even if the use of this model now extends far beyond the media industry. Representatives from departments such as IT, marketing, PR and sales get together for regular morning sessions and editorial meetings. The focus today is on the separation of topics and channels. According to the “content first” principle, the appropriate topics should first be prepared neutrally. Only then are they distributed to the individual channels and put into the appropriate format. The number of communication channels is constantly growing – from print to blog to social media and podcast. Many companies from a wide range of industries still see this media diversity as an opportunity to introduce the newsroom as the center of their communications. Another reason is the need for real-time communication, especially in times of crisis.


What are the benefits of a newsroom for my company?
There are other reasons why the introduction of a newsroom can make sense. The regularly held editorial meetings bring everyone’s information together and enable rapid coordination within the team. The colorful composition of this working group, consisting of members with different skills and interests, leads to close cooperation across the various departments and creates space and potential for new ideas. Uniform and more efficient communication both internally and externally is ensured by addressing the dialog group in a target group-specific manner and the multiple use of content on a variety of channels. Texts, videos, and graphics can be used in traditional print products, social media platforms, or on the intranet. Moreover, thanks to this system, organizations can get one step closer to the real-time communication they are striving for. Finally, the assignment of different roles to employees is also a decisive advantage. In the team, for example, there are topic managers, media managers and the chief of staff. The team members are assigned areas of responsibility, which also has a positive effect on motivation.


Newsroom 2.0
Since the Corona pandemic at the latest, the open-plan office has been replaced by the virtual room as the communications hub. Thus, although the regular meetings were retained and conducted as usual, they were completely relocated to the virtual space. With the increasing number of people working from home – also in the newsroom team – it seems to make more sense to meet online. Of course, there is still a lack of physical proximity, which makes it possible to quickly answer questions that arise at short notice. Many organizations see the increased use of shared platforms as a conceivable solution to simplify communication among each other again. The choice here is wide-ranging with Microsoft 365 and its Sharepoint, Google Workspace with Google Docs, for example, or Salesforce with Slack and Quip and Amazon Web Services (AWS) with WorkDocs.


Digital Technologies as a Chance
So a lot has happened since the beginnings of the newsroom. In the future, too, further development will not stop at this topic. One future topic for the newsroom, for example, could be artificial intelligence. From simple material searches using keywords, to merging similar content, to analyzing the competition, the use of AI is already conceivable in the field today. So the AI trend will certainly make its way into the communication center in the future, together with other helpful tools.


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