Model for the 21st Century Newsroom - Redux
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Model for the 21st Century Newsroom - Redux

How digitisation has changed news organisations in a multiplatform world

About the Book

In 2007 I published 'A Model for the 21st Century Newsroom', a series of models exploring how journalism might be organised to best play to the strengths of the world that we were now operating in. The physical limitations of traditional newsgathering, production and distribution were now being overcome by digital equivalents. The production line model that had dictated news production for a century was meeting a networked mode of operation where anyone could take on editorial and distribution roles.

There were, it seemed, countless opportunities to do journalism in a different way - but very little time, or resources, to find out which ones were most effective. There was a danger that instead of using these opportunities to tackle journalism's problems, established news organisations would instead tack them onto existing production processes - and be overtaken by online-only start-ups in the process.

The 21st Century Newsroom, and its accompanying diagram the News Diamond, was adopted and adapted by a number of news organisations in the UK and around the world. Meanwhile, technology, user behaviour, newsroom culture and the commercial context continued to change.

Thanks to the support of the BBC College of Journalism, this report revisits the Model for the 21st Century Newsroom in the light of those developments and the growing experiences of those organisations and individuals dealing with them. What emerges is a picture both of increasing formalisation of production processes and the emergence of entirely new fields of operation. From the rise of the liveblog and explainer, to the future of database-driven apps and increasingly organised content, the picture continues to change in surprising ways.

About the Author

Paul Bradshaw
Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw runs the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, where he is an associate professor. He publishes the Online Journalism Blog, and is the founder of investigative journalism website HelpMeInvestigate. He has written for the Guardian and Telegraph’s data blogs,, Press Gazette, InPublishing, Nieman Reports and the Poynter Institute in the US. Formerly Visiting Professor at City University’s School of Journalism in London, He is the author of the Online Journalism Handbook, now in its second edition, Magazine Editing (3rd Edition) with John Morrish and Mobile-First Journalism with Steve Hill. Other books which Bradshaw has contributed to include Investigative Journalism (second edition), Web Journalism: A New Form of Citizenship; and Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives.

His books on Leanpub include Scraping for JournalistsFinding Stories in Spreadsheets, the Data Journalism Heist, Snapchat for Journalists, and 8000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way.

Bradshaw has been listed in’s list of the leading innovators in journalism and media and Poynter’s most influential people in social media. In 2010, he was shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year. In 2016 he was part of a team that won the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

In addition to teaching and writing, Paul acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism. You can find him on Twitter @paulbradshaw

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Context: Rhythms, Content, and Devices
  • News is social
  • 3. Introduction to the new Model for a 21st Century Newsroom
  • Stage 1: Call To Action/Respond To Action
  • Stage 2: Open Draft: liveblogging - “The first draft of journalism”
  • Stage 3: Articles and packages
  • Depth
  • Stage 4: Context: portals, networks, explainers, pages and aggregation - the wikification of news
  • Stage 5: Comment and connection: analysis and reflection
  • Stage 6: Control and Customisation: multimedia and the news app
  • The Model for a 21st Century Newsroom and the Law of Participation Inequality
  • 4. Recommendations for Journalists and Editors
  • 1. Work within networks
  • 2. Maximise user input at the beginning of a story to maximise impact throughout
  • 3. Have clear objectives at every subsequent stage of production
  • 4. The multiskilled solo journalist should be the last resort
  • 5. Separate content from platform
  • 6. Identify where value can be added
  • 7. Curate information, not stories
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgements
  • Selected Bibliography

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