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02. The open editorial meeting

Working for the Web calls for flexible time management. There’s no actual deadline. In theory, the Internet is actually infinite, both in space and time. Nevertheless, a newsroom still needs to pick stories and choose their treatment, if possible thanks to the help of web readers, every day or at least once a week.

Choosing the stories

Thanks to your monitoring and the ideas journalists come up with, the list of stories to write everyday amount to a dozen items. It’s built thanks to two criteria : how popular they are (is everybody talking about them ?) and their general interest (their relevancy). These are the same criteria used by other media. Topics treated on the web are the same as elsewhere.

Choosing their treatment

However, there are many techniques to choose from to cover the stories. Once you’ve chosen the story, you need to pick the best medium to cover it : audio, pictures, video, and text… There’s no miracle recipe. Your choice will get more accurate with experience and common sense. A witness who refuses to have his picture taken might agree to a recorded or written interview. A story on a mass protest should be photographed or filmed. Finally you need to take into account the limitations of the newsroom : not every journalist can work with all kinds of media.

Be open to suggestions from web readers

One of the advantages of the web is that it allows you to give readers a sense of the goings-on in the newsroom, a universe that’s usually foreign to them. The Internet gives everyone the ability to bring the news. Therefore it’s interesting to take into account the participatory side of the Internet, to be answerable to web users and benefit from their ideas. They’re often relevant.

Managing a participatory editorial meeting

A meeting involving web users can be held once a week. To make it work you may use a chat tool while the meeting is going on. A journalist can describe the stories that come up during the meeting ; meanwhile another is collecting grievances and suggestions from web users, which he then tells the newsroom about. Once you do this, you’ll notice that stories over which journalists get enthusiastic are met with stony indifference by readers – and vice versa.

There are quite a few live blogging tools on the market. Coveritlive is one of them, and has the advantage of being easy and ergonomic. It can also be used to cover a live event.