I had two different phone calls Monday from very different clients. They both echoed the same feeling: "Mario, we are not moving as rapidly as we should and/or as you suggest in creating a newsroom where multiplatform planning is the key."
I am not surprised. I am also the optimist who knows that it takes time, especially with editors who feel comfortable working in the environment that is familiar to them---as in coming to the office to plan tomorrow's newspaper, the printed edition.
What is the biggest obstacle traditional editors have adapting? In my view, it is all about lacking a sense of how frequency has been altered. We don't wait for tomorrow's early morning edition of the print newspaper to get our news. We rely on our editors to keep us informed with quality now. Something happens and the editor tells me. I know that it may be very brief information, often an incomplete, evolving story, but we crave for it and we won't settle for subscribing to a publication that does not satisfy our need.
I told those clients who called to complain about the slow process of change in their newsrooms that this is nothing new. In fact, in my book Contemporary Newspaper Design (Prentice-Hall, 1981), I made a reference to the subject of editors and adapting (and while the circumstances were different, the editors' lack of ability to adapt quickly was the same).
"Although many newspapers have made the technological switch from hot metal to cold type, some editors still have not adjusted their "hot type" thinking to accommodate the unlimited design potential of cold type. These editors hesitate to become designers who deal with the general available space, and continue to be makeup men who deal with inches and columns as isolated units on the page."
Goes to prove that some things never change. Or, to give it a more positive spin, some habits don't change as quickly as we'd like, especially in newsrooms.
Here is link to my lecture Embracing Change, given at Columbia University's School of Journalism in 2014: