Phillip Smith

Looking back at the Pacific News Service: an early "newsroom as cafe" experiment?

Continuing with the theme of stories... I was struck yesterday, when speaking to David Beers, about the sense of community that he's trying to weave into the fabric of The Tyee's newsroom.

I shared with David that the idea of bringing the community into the newsroom -- or the newsroom into the community -- had recently been discussed on the Rebooting the News podcast, and by "hacker journalist" Daniel Bachhuber on his blog, under the banner of "Newsroom as cafe."

David chuckled a bit, as he described his early careers experiences working in the San Francisco-based Pacific News Service newsroom in the 80s. He described it as a place that was open to the community; where "anyone could come in for their Monday [editorial] meeting" and thus take part in the news process.

He finished with the sentiment that these ideas are not necessarily new, but they are often are the ones that have been lost in the contemporary, profit-driven, newsroom. So, as news becomes more narrowcast, and fights to be more relevant to people's lives, it would seem to that these ideas of community-connected newsrooms are ripe to be rediscovered.

It's stories like these that keep me engaged.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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