An open story meeting? Let’s do it!

Yoni Greenbaum recently wrote about how TMZ.com conducts their story meetings: OPEN.

I don’t think this is radical at all, I think this is logical. Why haven’t we been doing this all along?

His Your newsroom could learn something from TMZ… No, really post explains,

“For those of you who watch the very popular television version of the “entertainment news, celebrity gossip and Hollywood rumors” website TMZ.com, you will know that their meetings are done in the open with seemingly broad participation. Editor and founder Harvey Levin stands at the front of the room and users a clear board to note stories that the show will be using. There is a free exchange as the individual staffers (or are they editors?) offer their story ideas.”

Greenbaum says near the end,

“Build the budget from those in attendance, editors can speak for staffers not in attendance, staffers can offer their own ideas based on what they’re working on or what they know is going on. Encourage that free exchange. I think you’ll find that the meeting will boost morale, encourage collaboration and even increase productivity.”

He also includes the following video about The New York Times‘ new integrated newsroom.

I completely agree with the idea. As I commented on Greenbaum’s post, it hits at the “two heads are better than one” cliche. As news editor last year I encouraged reporters to contribute story ideas in our meetings and come by the office on deadline days (Sundays and Wednesdays). As editor in chief this year I still encourage staffers to visit.

I would not say our twice-weekly staff meetings have been closed in past (any staff member is allowed to sit in or be in the office and some designers who are around sometimes do), but we have never before sent out a mass e-mail inviting staffers. But now, I will invite all of The Miami Hurricane‘s staffers to the next meeting and see how it works.

Our small newsroom may not be able to hold everyone, but we’ll see what happens.

Weigh in: Will you try this for your next story meeting?

4 thoughts on “An open story meeting? Let’s do it!”

  1. Greg – Thanks for the post and good luck with the meetings. I think you’ll find an even broader level of participation then any of use can get with an open door policy. I would be interested to hear how it works for you.

  2. Thanks Yoni, there wasn’t enough notice for today’s meeting, but we shall try again for Wednesday’s. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. @Bryan: Thanks for posting that link.

    I saw the comments about webcasting on Yoni’s blog. That’s something I hope to try this semester after we get more people at the meetings – and a camera that can handle that kind of footage (i.e. not a Flip).

    Another idea I’ve been pondering is having community forums with the student editors and the university community, which would be good to webcast as well.

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