Newspapers are now newsrooms and in some cases newscentres. Their steady momentum to the end of the day and the print deadline has been replaced by an incessant humming of the 24/7 digital priority.
It is a news manager's challenge to help reshape the culture, and one of those cultures is the layered editing that often improves and occasionally blandizes the reporter's copy.
The Washington Post has done as much as any North American media to operate across platforms in the last decade. Its washingtonpost.com functions separately from the newspaper, in a different state, and while the two complement each other, they have distinctive qualities that make for a slightly different content organization and hierarchy --- and thus a different consumer experience.
In recent days the Post's executive editor, Leonard Downie, has outlined changes to the production of the newspaper to put it on a more aggressive footing in the new environment. His memo (available through Slate.com) is an insightful elegy to different days and a clear signal that times have forever changed. In particular it is instructive to read how some non-local desks are being merged, how the rhythm of the newsroom will change to adapt to earlier consumer expectations in the day, and how the newsroom will reduce the number of "touches" on a story (they found as many as 12 editors --- yikes --- had handled a story in one instance).