ISOJ 2014 Highlights: Building an Experimental Culture for News

Editor’s Note: Carrie Brown-Smith offers the following take on the 15th annual International Symposium on Online Journalism, held recently in Austin, Texas.  She is a college educator and researcher with work published in Harvard’s Nieman Lab, PBS Media Shift, and the Convergence Newsletter, among other outlets.    

The Changing Newsroom

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to return to Austin for this year’s International Symposium of Online Journalism, always my favorite conference. My biggest takeaway was perhaps a selfish one, given that my research buddy Jonathan Groves of Drury University and I are working on a book bringing together about eight years of our research on newsrooms to help news organizations develop experimental, learning cultures. At ISOJ it came across clearly that from our most venerable legacy brands to new media upstarts, experimentation is a priority for today’s journalists.

For example, I was thrilled to hear Washington Post editor Marty Baron discuss his overall  optimism for the news business and his description of his efforts to foster an experimental culture by encouraging people to try new things and rewarding them for it.  Specifically, Baron noted that the Post has made an effort to expand its video content, and that they…

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