My fantasy newsroom is one where the public comes and goes (within reason, of course) and story ideas flow freely in all directions. In England in the 1600s, news grew out of coffeehouses this way. Decades later in the U.S. colonies, the venue of choice switched to pubs. (I like that journalism in America is tied up with drinking. Explains a lot.)
I love this concept, too. Too many journalists carry the conversation online, too far removed from their readers and sources. Meanwhile, the news that matters—particularly for a local publication—is all around journalists, if only they got out once and awhile to see it.
The Internet makes journalists lazy. It removes them from the real people they’re supposed to be writing about and for. Social media isn’t a new concept, just its Internet evolution. The coffee shop newsroom is a delightful get-back-to-basics reporting concept without giving up the Net’s value as a research tool. Advice to all journalists: The Internet isn’t your source—people are your sources.
Editor’s Note: This post was moved to joewilcox.com from oddlytogether.com on Sept. 27, 2010.