Michelle McLellan at the Knight Digital Media Center opens the year with a column that is in my kitchen: How to push a newsroom to a Web-centric operation while printing a newspaper.
The purists on either end of the spectrum are fewer in number than ever. There aren't many who believe in holding material back for post-print publication and there aren't many who believe in filing every morsel to the Web and leaving nothing new for the paper.
McLellan suggests taking a small team from the newsroom and putting it in charge of print production. That team would extract everything from the Web for the paper. It would essentially repurpose Web content. She suggests 10 per cent of the newsroom could be employed this way --- perhaps more, but the starting point should be 10 per cent, she says.
A key difference is that the print team isn't running the show.
"To a great extent, the team also must learn to produce a good newspaper without the ability to ask the news gatherers for a lot of print-specific content," she writes.
Regardless of the approach, she suggests it's necessary to wind down the print edition.
The Canadian and American situations differ. The Canadian newspaper industry is still relatively strong to the U.S. and our online journalism is not as advanced. The formula she suggests wouldn't apply here because the overwhelming revenue stream --- even in a challenging economy --- is coming from print and appears likely to be very print-centric for some time to come.