A lot like The Spectator but better.
That was the advice from seven small groups of newsroom staff who spent more than an hour Wednesday developing news objectives/strategies for a fictional start-up to kill The Spectator. It was a way of reconceiving the content of The Spec's news section and the culmination of our Nine Days To Change The News project.
The brainstorming sessions followed eight days of discussions, seminars, postings and pamphletting and involved each group — led by a (moderately) trained facilitator — re-imagining the paper's core product. As part of the process the groups voted with five positive and five negative votes on the different ideas their group had generated. Those results were then grouped and tabulated.
There weren't many truly radical ideas that won support of any of the groups, but there was a fairly widely shared sense of what would make for a better paper. In no particular order, here are some common (broadly-approved) features of the fictional papers, which came with names like The Bridge, The Connector, The Hamilton Connection, The Hammer and Bob (clearly marketing ain't necessarily a strong point here):
strong local emphasis, even down to neighbourhood news
contextual, both in the way of writing and in story-behind-the-headlines articles
reporters would spend a lot of time out in the community
focus on good writing
smarter, provocative, edgy (surprising, not offensive)
more flexbility around/later deadlines, news should not be trumped by production needs
good, informative graphics
variety of story lengths
more people focus, more profiles
The papers came with names like The Bridge, The Connector, The Hamilton Connection, The Hammer and Bob. Clearly marketing ain't necessarily this newsroom's strongest point. Carry on after the jump to see the rest of the newsroom's ideas about the attributes they'd like to see in a newspaper.