Italian daily La Stampa is to integrate its newsroom, taking what its editor in chief Mario Calabresi has described as "a step towards the future". Calabresi announced the move, which will incorporate both physical changes and staff changes as well as a change in CMS, in a letter published on February 6. "A newspaper is a lively body that needs to be able to adapt itself to its environment," wrote Calabresi.
This step forward is reflected in the creation of three new job positions, which are intended to form a bridge between print and the integrated future. By introducing a digital editor, a web editor and a social media editor La Stampa hopes to make the transition to fully integrated newsroom a reality in terms of people and workflow.
The digital editor will be coordinating all the digital platforms, the website, tablets and smartphones and the paper presence on social networks, which will be run by the social media editor, while the web editor will be responsible for the website.
The Editors Weblog spoke to Marco Bardazzi, former managing editor who has just been named digital editor, who explained how La Stampa is turning into a completely integrated multiplatform newsroom.
"The creation of these three new job positions is a real achievement," Bardazzi said. "Even if at La Stampa there was already a degree of integration between print and digital, the internal organization was still focused mainly on the production of the print paper. Now we are creating a structure that enables us to work across all platforms, from print to web, to tablet and smartphones, maintaining the same level of quality, in-depth analysis and commitment that we have dedicated to the print edition for so many years".
(La Stampa will celebrate its 145th anniversary next Thursday, being born as Gazzetta Piemontese, on 9 February 1867).
Integration will consist of three broad aspects: the internal reorganization of the newsroom - symbolized by the aforementioned digital job positions - an architectural restructure involving moving headquarters and the change in editorial system to migrate toward an integrated platform that will manage the cross media publication more efficiently.
In the few next months the Turin-based newsroom will move to a different location in the city and the new space will reflect the new integrated journalistic approach, Bardazzi explained. "The newsroom layout will be based on concentric centres. In the hub in the middle digital and print centres will sit together to direct all the different newsroom sections that will be built around it."
To facilitate multiplatform publication, La Stampa will also change its content management system and will be the first Italian big newspaper to use EidosMedia's Méthode system. "This multi-channel publishing platform has been already adopted by some of the most innovative newsrooms worldwide as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Financial Times and Le Figaro", continued Bardazzi.
Bardazzi noted that the internal reorganization, in which himself will play a strong role as the new digital editor, won't be just a change of titles but is part of a significant change in workflow.
The underlying idea of all these innovations is the belief that a change in mindset is needed in the news industry to keep up with times and to respond to the challenges of the digital age.
It is crucially important to think digitally - Bardazzi said - and to remember that the new journalistic approach does not include only the new devices or technologies that we publish on, but must include new ways to develop stories accordingly to the different devices.
"True integration means that La Stampa is just one title available on multiple platforms and devices," he added.
Calabresi concluded in the same tone: "I want to reassure all our traditional readers: growing on digital does not mean undermine in any way the news quality we provide, on paper as well as on the web. The information La Stampa provides remains just one, the one that you know and appreciate, even if distributed on different devices".
Sources: La Stampa, original interview