Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Conducting journalists: The Cedar Rapids Gazette in startup mode


Back in December, at my old blog, I posted a set of media predictions for 2009, including: “Some innovative new approaches to journalism will emanate from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

Around that time came the unveiling of Newsmixer, a project by Medill School of Journalism students working in collaboration with the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Newsmixer, which has not progressed beyond a demonstration stage, is a concept for social networking around news, something the industry urgently needs to develop.

But Newsmixer came out in 2008, so it doesn’t count to fulfill my 2009 prediction. This does:

The Gazette’s Steve Buttry last week announced bold changes in the organization of the Gazette newsroom. Buttry was editor of the paper, but that role has passed to Lyle Muller, and Buttry has assumed a newly coined title: Information Content Conductor. I’m sure he’s the only guy in the country with that title right now.

The change is part of a broad and ongoing functional reorganization being led by Gazette Communications CEO Chuck Peters. Chuck, you may recall, achieved some blogospheric fame last fall by liveblogging the American Press Institute’s Summit for an Industry in Crisis. Unlike most news executives, his previous experience includes leadership of a completely different business — he was president and COO of Amana Refrigeration, the kitchen appliance firm. He also has a law degree. His background is a key reason Gazette Communications (which includes TV broadcasting and commercial printing divisions) is coming up with innovative new strategies for dealing with the challenges printed newspapers face...

Read the rest of this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.


Richard L. Floyd said...


I went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids from 1967-1971. Back then the Gazette had pretty decent coverage of local and regional Vietnam era protests and the like that I was involved in. I noticed President Obama made a couple of trips to Cedar Rapids during the campaign. I hadn't thought about the Gazette in years until I saw your blog.


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