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Newsroom culture of excellence, foundational document No. 4: Story budget aims toward digital

This is part of the York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News daily news budget, an oft-referenced tool in our newsroom. Several years ago, we reshaped the budget to reflect our growing push to put our stories and photos on a multitude of digital platforms – today known as web, mobile, tablets and social media. Notice the prompts under each story – Twitter, links, The Exchange – to aid journalists in considering a variety of digital platforms to post their stories, photos and graphics. Those prompts are just a few tools in the digital toolbox. (See the St. Mary’s photo indicated in this budget below.)

In newsroom lingo, a news budget is not a financial document.

Many journalists would shrink from documents filled with numbers, as numerically impaired as some of us are.

A news budget is a lineup of stories, photos, graphics and information that our journalists are working on. It is  the most referenced document, or electronic file, in our newsroom – and most newsrooms – each day.

Journalists are c0nstantly in there updating and deleting and adding.

So it occurred to some editors here that if we wanted to change from a newspaper- or print-oriented culture to a digital-first environment, we should target the news budget as well as the daily meetings in which we meet to review the story lineup.

Day Metro Editor Amy Gulli re-engineered our news budget with digital prompts. As stories are developed, the prompts not used are removed, communicating the digital tools that will be used. For example, will the issue raised in a story be posted on The Exchange, our popular community bulletin board?

We also reversed the flow of our meetings. Our 11 a.m. meeting focuses primarily on digital, going over how the news budget will play out on the Web. Then comes print. And we start our afternoon meeting with the same approach, critiquing what we have done and what’s ahead on the Web.

We’re serious about  being the No. 1 source of news and information in York County across all platforms and have designed the way we work – we call them workflows – to achieve that.

One last point that might interest journalists:

If you want to leverage change, transform the document that a newsroom wraps itself around.

Even math-impaired  journalists can count the number of eyes that see  a news budget each day.

Also of interest:

See the Foundational Documents page for other posts in this series.

York Daily Record/Sunday News photographer captured  Ana Torres of  St. Mary’s Church at the start of the Our Lady of Guadalupe event this week.