The magic number is 22

Drawing the new newsroom org chartKen Doctor said earlier this week:

And the envelope, please: How many people does it take to run an online-only metro news site?

The answer appears to be 22.

In some Tweets with @jayrosen_nyu a couple weeks ago, I suggested a smaller number, but certainly Ken Doctor’s taken a closer look than my snap guess. My guess was closer to the size of Seattle startup Crosscut, which has seven.

Taking a staff of 170 (which Seattle’s P-I has), what kind of publication do you end up with 22? Increasingly, that’s not an academic question with the P-I rumored to be headed in that direction instead of closing altogether. What would the org chart look like? There are other examples out there of print pubs that have gone online only, but not much in the way of “rules of thumb.”

By nearly every estimate, surviving the cataclysm of going from print+online to online only will mean a dramatically smaller number of journalism jobs in U.S. newspaper newsrooms (and that’s understated).

(via Katie Allison Granju, Drawing from Creating Passionate Users)