How can we fix the newsroom?

George Sylvie, author of Reshaping the News


The New York Times op-ed by an anonymous senior White House official, claiming to be part of a “quiet resistance” within the Trump administration, was picked up by almost every major media outlet in the English language. Despite the widespread coverage, there is a surprising lack of analysis over the actual substance of the op-ed.

Why are press and TV reporters asking “are you the mysterious op-ed” writer, instead of asking “do you believe the piece was correct” and tallying the number?

As more and more of us believe that becoming fully informed, and knowing which media to trust, is getting more difficult to accomplish, American reliance on newspapers remains significant and thus ever more important to preserve.

If positive change is going to happen in and for newspapers, it likely isn’t going to come from its publishers, most seemingly reluctant to buck tradition and spend money to make money.

Newspaper newsrooms — because of their role as leading generators of local news and the subsequent influence they wield over other media and the electorate — require a new kind of leadership that means rethinking the relationship toward the audience.

How can newsroom leaders learn to accept and implement change in reporting while becoming more receptive toward audience members too long excluded from consideration?

If you could figure a way to make the ingredients of a newspaper more valuable, you might be on to something.

A wise man once said: “Use your detailed knowledge of the communities you serve, and their contemporary dynamics to make bottom-up news a key element of coverage, means broadening the news to include more personal interests of the public.”

New approaches to understanding the communities in your circulation area and the creation of a broader definition of news relevant to these communities, require a new mindset among journalists, one that emphasizes creativity and innovation.

The upcoming publication Reshaping the News details a model of active, systematic, and detailed monitoring of community interests and movements with an eye toward reclassifying, stretching, refitting and broadening what constitutes news.

News organizations need look no farther than inward to find a resolution, and to make the choice they know in their hearts is best.