6
Newsroom for a New Age:
Managing the Virtual Newsroom

Many of the newspapers worldwide that have launched news Web sites have created separate newsrooms for their online products.1 The advantages of maintaining a separate new media staff include creating a mechanism to generate original news reporting for online publication. In some cases, newspapers that have not set up a separate new media staff have put incredible demands on their reporters, who must now report for both the newspaper and online. People are putting in sixteen-to twenty-hour days and getting burned out.

In the case of the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, one of the most successful online news efforts to date (at least as measured by the number of paid subscribers: more than three hundred thousand as of February 2000), success has been achieved at least in part by integrating the online and print staff. The forty editors, reporters, and artists are “smack in the middle of the national newsroom,” notes Rich Jaroslovsky, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition.2 They sit back-to-back with the print team.3 “My geographic position is one that I cherish,” Jaroslovsky observed during the “Online News Summit” held in New York City in September 1997.

It is important to get print reporters more involved in the online arena, even if they don't actually report for the online product. Until recently, a surprisingly high number of print and electronic (i.e., broadcast) reporters working even for large news organizations still did not have Internet access from their office workstations. The annual Middleberg/Ross “Media in Cyberspace” study showed that in 1997 almost half of reporters did not have

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