Last week, a few members of the Lewis Public Relations team got the inside scoop about what has been happening at The Dallas Morning News straight from Editor Mike Wilson. The first outside editor for The Dallas Morning News in 35 years, Wilson’s résumé boasts 30 years in print and journalism, which he is drawing on to make some big changes at the organization.
Here is the quick list of how Wilson is planning to create a better news organization in 2016:
- An earlier start to the day
- Digital focus for editors
- Systems of hubs and obsessions (rather than beats and print sections)
- Breaking news team with multimedia capability
- Digital producers reporting and adding rich media
- Original and curated video
- Digital copy editors posting stories early in the day
- A midday handoff to The Daily team
Under Wilson’s direction, the paper has been focusing more on delivering digitally. He wants to create a trusted, go-to digital organization that serves the audience first; covers the most relevant, timely news; and, within those parameters, produces a great newspaper.
The organizational shift has already begun through changes to senior leadership, editors and beat structure. Articles are being written earlier in the day for online publication, shifting to a meta-story focus and integrating more interactives with data visualization and multimedia applications. That last focus is a true step forward for the organization and will undoubtedly help attract a younger and more engaged audience. (You know all those Romo memes popping up in your Facebook feed? You can actually make your own here.)
Wilson is driving a new data-driven approach to standard beat reporting. Each reporter will have audience metrics to measure engagement. Through these metrics, the staff will better understand and deliver more desired content. The standard beats have been restructured in a system of hubs and obsessions to keep stories relevant and reporters fresh.
Lastly, Wilson outlined coverage priorities for the year. Readers can expect to see more stories on Muslims in the community, the 2016 political campaign, the City of Dallas, DFW’s big boom and “The Moment.” Focusing on personal stories, “The Moment” is a new feature that will zero in on small, meaningful moments in everyday lives. The first story highlights a young boy who is teetering on the brink of whether to believe Santa is the “real deal.”
There are some big changes on the horizon for this legacy newsroom, and we’re confident their new leader is heading in the right direction.
Cover photo by AlBakker via Flickr.