In his final column as the New York Times public editor, Barney Calame writes about a pilot project under way in the business section of the paper that seeks to integrate the print and online operations on a 24/7 basis.
Calame, a former deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, wrote, “In a vital step forward and a distinct plus for Web readers, the pilot tests the idea of making the editor of a core news department of the print paper responsible for the coverage online as well.
“The Timesâ€™s effort to do more with the same size news staff, and do it 24 hours a day, requires workload decisions that can affect quality, especially in editing.
“Editing lapses, among both the so-called backfield editors who shepherd and shape stories and the copy editors who pore over articles detail by detail, have been a recurring theme in my columns. Often the problem was that, even on non-deadline stories, editors didnâ€™t have enough time to spot problems and ask questions. A major part of the paperâ€™s ‘Reinventing the Newsroom’ pilot project involves getting reporters to file stories throughout the day for more rapid posting on the Web. In theory, spreading out the flow of stories that used to arrive right at the evening print deadline could give editors more time to make articles better. I worry, however, that the combination of having to update stories appearing on the Web and continued financial pressure to maintain current staffing numbers could leave both the quality and the theory bruised.
“Doing more with the same size staff of reporters also has implications for the quality of the reporting.”
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