You are looking at a machine.
As fast, efficient, lean machine designed for news gathering and information processing.
It is the newsroom of the Newark Star Ledger.
For more than 300 years, newspapers in this country have been in the business of going out into the community, gathering important news and information, processing that news and information and then returning it to the community, for a profit.
They are very very good at it.
Local TV stations, by way of contrast, have only been at this for the past 50 years or so, and they are pretty lousy at it. They are costly, fat, inefficient and largely unproductive.
It used to be that TV news and newspapers lived in two separate worlds.
They don’t any longer.
The web has gone to video, and with that, the barrier to access for bringing video information to people’s homes has vanished.
What you are looking at above is an almost priceless resource: the accumulated knowledge of a newsroom filled with people who have spent their lives in one community learning all they can about the politics, the personalities, the economics and the neighborhoods. They also have spent their lives honing their crafts as reporters and storytellers. No matter how hard you look on the web, you’re not going to find this on Google. Nor are you going to find this on Channel 5.
But video is king.
It has been for a long time.
What happens when you arm these people with video cameras and laptops, send them out into the community to keep doing what they have always done – reporting and finding stories; and then you take those video stories and put them in people’s homes?
Compare that to a local TV station that fields 6-8 ‘crews’ a day.
It’s a killer.
You might in fact call it a Killer Ap.
There always has been, and there always will be a strong appetite for local news.
But marry a newspaper newsroom to video to the web, and my guess is you have the newsgathering and distribution formula for the 21st Century.
And that’s what we started to do in Newark yesterday.
And we’re going to continue today… and tomorrow….