Sunday, October 22, 2006

Greensboro's "in the money"

We can talk all day about what's right and wrong with newspapers, how to change, adapt, etc. But if you want to find out whether an organization is serious about any of this, head for the budget.

As anyone who's had to run one of these corporae darlin's knows, all the talk in the world doesn't mean squat if it's not in the budget. Or, in that overused line: show me the money.

And so I'm happy to see the Greensboro News & Record, already one of the leading papers in this new media/citizen media area, has taken the first step toward nailing the "money question." After my post the other day summarizing last weekend's ConvergeSouth gathering in Greensboro, Lex Alexander of the N&R responded:

Long story short, in January we plan to hold a meeting here at the paper of key N&R news and technology staffers and anyone in the community interested in working with us to address some of these specific technological problems.

We'd do it sooner, but because we want this meeting to lead directly to action, we're first getting our ducks in a row for 2007 budgetwise (departmental budget hearings are going on as I type) and in terms of technological problems and priorities.

At the meeting, we'll go down that list item by item and see whether anyone in the community has the ability and willingness to help us tackle each one. Responsibilities will be assigned, target dates set for completion, and then the meeting will break up and we'll get to work.

Read that middle graf again.

You can write a lot of other stuff. But those few words may be among the most significant you will read. They show an organization committed to getting it done (I assume, at whatever level finally shows up in the budget).

Greensboro, if it pulls this off, bears even closer watching in the coming year than it has before. And I hope John Robinson, Lex Alexander & Co. will prepare a summary at the end to show others in the industry how to take it seriously.

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