A snapshot of change in newsrooms

Amidst the doom and gloom over the newspaper industry, a refashioning is taking place in newsrooms that a majority of editors believe is improving their product even as revenues to support newsrooms, among other things, are declining.

And the audience the newsroom is reaching is at an all-time high.

Those are a couple takeaways from a just released report by journalist Tyler Marshall and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The study touts itself as “the most systematic effort yet to examine the changing nature of the resources in American newspaper newsrooms at a critical time. It is an attempt to document and quantify cutbacks and innovations that have generally been known only anecdotally.”

Amid these concerns–and despite the enormous cutbacks and profound worries–editors still sense that their product is improving, not worsening. Fully 56% think their news product is better than it was three years earlier.

“I believe the journalism itself is discernibly better than it was a year ago,” said the editor of a large metropolitan daily, whose paper last year lost 70 newsroom employees. “There’s an improvement in enterprise, in investigations and in the coverage of several core beats.”

However, almost no editors said they felt confident of what their newsrooms would look like in five years as they, and their staffs, are buffeted between the twin storms of financial pressures to reduce costs and the need to do more online.

To a degree not seen in the last 30 years of newspaper journalism, the people in newsrooms today —  whether they sought it or not — have the ability to fashion their future. Read the whole report to see how it’s going.