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Separate online and print staff necessary for online innovation

Is print and online integration really the way forward?

When sifting through my feeds yesterday, I was struck by this line by Poynter's Steve Klein: "until the online and print copy-desk operations are fully merged on a 24/7 basis, they cannot consider themselves truly integrated. It's the future. But it should be the present."

This is interesting because it's quite the opposite of what most of my industry contacts tell me. Take, for instance, without comparison the most read and the most profitable online newspaper in Norway. Its editor-in-chief, Torry Pedersen, attributes the news sites' success to segregation: to having the equivalent of 'a room of owns one' and being able to develop its own culture.

In fact, he thinks online and print are entirely different disciplines, and, to his mind, being number one in both print and online requires different organisations - he likes to compare this to how feasible it is for one and the same runner to (persistently) win the 100 meter sprint and the marathon during the Olympics (read more about his perspectives on this over at

But this is not a unique sentiment, a lot of my contacts tell me the same, which begs the question: does a newspapers or broadcaster's online edition, like the kept partner in an unequal marriage, need a room of its own to flourish?

If given such a room, does there come a time when the two partners, now on a more equal footing, can live in happy matrimony ever after, or is a union of equally ambitious partners bound to be an unhappy one?

At this point, I should probably admit that this topic reminded me of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own before I had that chat with Pedersen (definitely not his metaphor, but I found it rather amusing) for the piece (I'd heard him voice a similar sentiment in less explicit terms before), which means, to continue along those lines, I should probably start talking about Mars and Venus. That however, feels just about as tired as I feel now (terrible line, I know, which is why I think it's about time to call it a day:-) ).

I'd love to hear your opinion though.


Interesting points, Kristine.

Here in the UK, The Telegraph is now fully integrated and The Guardian is nearing the end of the same process.

I'm unaware of any of the nationals who have purposely separated their newsrooms, but am interested in seeing how both setups work and how effective they are.

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