The Digital Future: The Next Technological Steps

At the request of John Oppedahl, my boss at Phoenix Newspapers, I wrote a very long memo about technology and the company’s newspapers, The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette.  The memo was 25 pages.

Technology influences the newspaper in many different ways: From offset presses controlled by computers to database programs that help circulation, independent components become part of an interdependent system.

This connection is the strongest between the newsrooms and production. We are linked, tied electronically by common systems, common needs and common problems. In the same way siblings share bloodlines, editorial and production share an electronic network of bits, bytes and data.

I wanted to outline what technologies the company needed to invest in.  I wrote about pagination, text editing systems, color systems, advertising needs and more.  I framed the report on the idea of a new newsroom.

More important than relationships between computer systems and more interesting than the technological feat of pagination is the way the newsrooms are organized to produce the newspaper. Using new technology to produce a newspaper in the same method utilized 20 years ago or 5 years ago is a tremendous waste of money, manpower and creativity.

The top of the memo has lovely saying: “Man plans, God laughs” -Old Yiddish saying

The complete memo can be read in this PDF.