“I’m a strong believer that workflow and technology changes the kind of journalism you put out. What I’ve seen is just how crucially important it is to have in place workflows that make sense and to use technology that understands that workflow.
For example, a CMS [content management system] that has a lot of constraints behind it will literally change the kind of journalism you can produce and the workflow. …If you don’t have a great project management system, whether you’re using Basecamp or Google Docs or whatever, if that project management system doesn’t understand how your reporters operate — if they feel they have to jump between email, IM, and text and whatever — that can actually disrupt the kind of work they’re able to produce.
Trying to figure out strategies for digital newsrooms, technologically and in terms of workflow, is the biggest challenge. I think it really comes down to these hardcore, very fundamental infrastructure type problems that haven’t been adequately solved yet.”
Unrelated (yet completely related) recent story about how The Bangor Daily News overhauled its workflow to incorporate Google Docs and WordPress.
A great workflow can elevate your work and a bad one can really hold you back, and I sincerely hope we will see more efforts to improve processes surrounding digital workflow in the near future. Just as curation is getting rightly hailed as an essential element of filtering out the noise and making sense of the Internet, so too should great processes be invented to corral the historically awful editorial workflow found in typical CMSes. It’s overdue. Way overdue. Not just Asana and Basecamp and the like, but tools and hacks that work specifically for journalists and that journalists can finally put to work.