Editor and executive vice president of Long Island daily Newsday John Mancini sent his staff such a memo today. Is memo the right word? It's more like something between a cri de coeur and a call to arms. It's about how Newsday (it exists!) needs to be as "modern and forward thinking" as Long Island itself, and to that end, it needs to adapt to these new Internet times. It might even need to seek input from You! "Our world has been digitally re-mastered ... Now our task is to transform Newsday," John writes. He has clearly not yet learned rule one of mastering the internet: no earnestness allowed.
TO: The Staff FROM: John Mancini What's Going On Today I ask you to take on a dramatic assignment.
Our world has been digitally re-mastered, transforming what readers expect of us. They want news and information delivered instantaneously, available continuously, via any means they choose. And they want to be a part of the conversation.
Now our task is to transform Newsday.
Think for a moment about how much you depend on the Web in so many aspects of your life. At this hour, with more and more of our neighbors and advertisers turning online to satisfy their need to see and be seen, our path becomes clear.
The survival of journalism as Long Island has known it, at least for the past for 66 years, depends on how we leap into the new age.
Newsday is blessed with a talented, loyal and determined staff. You have endured sweeping change, embraced new challenges and overcome daunting obstacles in the past few years. Uncertainty surrounds our corporate ownership structure. Yet throughout unsettling times, you have produced first-class work.
Still, we have a higher mountain to climb.
This morning, we started meeting with department heads and editors on each desk to discuss the broad outlines of reorganizing the newsroom to more deeply engage the growing Web audience. Discussions with staff in all departments will be scheduled over the next few weeks.
We will fundamentally reshape how we gather and deliver information. Every one of our jobs will be affected. Every one of our jobs will expand. The way we collect news, produce coverage and construct Newsday will change.
Through the efforts of the interactive staff and the newsroom, the award-winning Newsday.com has been nationally recognized as a vibrant extension of what we do in the paper every day. Now the challenge is to make the Web site as dominant a presence on Long Island as the paper.
We must also re-imagine what constitutes a complete newspaper in the Internet age.
Newsday is fortunate to have a large and loyal print readership. Our subscriber base remains the envy of the industry. But aiming to simply maintain the revenue stream that audience has provided is not a sustaining option for a modern news organization. As a business, Newsday has to tap new streams of revenue, in mighty new ways, mighty fast.
The task is not to merely follow our audience online. We must, in significant fashion, lead them there. To stake out that ground, we will bolster our ability to update Newsday.com continuously, with stories that are told in sight and in sound. Video training for all photographers will begin soon. Multimedia training for reporters, editors and artists will follow. The interactive staff will be key in all of these efforts.
The Long Island desk has led the way thus far, and already we have seen an increase in local unique users. Sports has connected with a wider, passionate audience with news-breaking reporting and blogs. Now every department, in every way, will have to begin reporting for the Web first.
That's only an initial step.
We need to imagine how to provide Long Islanders the means to see their world on Newsday.com, and perhaps more profoundly, how to give them a multitude of ways to be a part of the site.
Our viability depends on being Long Island's preeminent provider of news and information, on platforms existing and yet to be imagined. Our resources need to be centered completely on local coverage in all of its aspects: news, business, sports, features, health and watchdog enterprise. Describing and explaining how the world beyond the Island affects our readers is a cornerstone of that foundation.
New channels like Explore Long Island and the N Zone have shown how we can quickly grow audience, much of it centered on video. We can certainly replicate that success: Their vitality stems from the kind of local, useful and relevant content that is the foundation of all that we do.
Once again, I thank you for everything you do each day. Newsday is stronger because of your diligence and dedication.
We will need to draw upon all of your strength and creativity to build a Newsday as modern and forward thinking as the community that depends so thoroughly upon us.