IFRAIFRA is to use the Daily Telegraph's development of an integrated newsroom as the basis of a training programme aimed at teaching senior US editors how to manage seismic organisational change.

The training will be a departure from the editorial and advertising-based sessions usually provided in the US, instead focusing on how to manage fundamental changes of newspaper culture.

"I think it's probably a first for the US, we're taking some of the lessons from Europe and particularly some of the lessons and major changes last year from the Daily Telegraph, in London, and sharing those lessons with the US newspaper industry," Randy Covington, director of IFRA's US Newsplex operation, told Journalism.co.uk.

The seminars will instruct on getting 'buy-in' from newsroom staff, implementation methods and techniques, communicating change to a large staff and then managing the change process.
The programme, which will also look at developments at other newspapers internationally, will include presentations about how work processes and job titles were altered at the Telegraph as part of the overall change and be led by those who worked closely with the paper's convergence project.

"In the US these are scary times for newspapers. I spend a lot of my time talking to editors and publishers and what I hear are profound concerns; what is the future? How do we reorganise our newsrooms to prepare ourselves for a future that is uncertain?" Covington added.

"The bottom line for me is that we work with a lot of newspapers and we see a lot of innovative things going on, but to really prepare a newspaper for the future requires more fundamental change than most of us have been willing to accept to date.

"However, I perceive in the US that there is a growing realisation that we can't prepare our newspapers for the future through small piecemeal steps. They need to be broad, they need to by systemic and they need to be focused on the audience and not the newsroom."

The two-day seminar will run in October at IRFA's US Newsplex site at the University of South Carolina.

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