Katharine Fong: Young People Lead Innovation on the Cheap

ONA6 014.jpg (Photo by Aaron Roberts)

Young people are the "canaries in the coal mine" when it comes to running a "digi-newsroom" on a tight budget, according to Katharine Fong, deputy managing editor of the San Jose Mercury News.

Fong said that young people, who are often on limited budgets, are "always looking for cheap ways" to produce innovative content online.

During the "Running a Digi-Newsroom on the Cheap" panel, Fong gave attendees tips on how to save money in the multimedia newsroom -- a necessity in an age of shrinking resources.

"Budgets have shrunk, and resources have shrunk accordingly," she said.

Still, Fong said, "it is essential to free up at least one person to be your mini-R&D person."

She also said the photo department at the Mercury News once had to forgo new camera lenses so the newsroom could expand its multimedia capabilities.

"You have to be able to reallocate some of your resources -- even a little -- to buy something that you need in order to give people the tools," she said.

Another way of getting low-cost content is to partner with outside vendors for podcasts or calendars, she said.

She said she is particularly excited about a service called The Mercury News is using to stream live video of local events such as Little League games.

Fong recommended several free or low-cost tools, including:

-- Nicole Mooradian

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8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

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Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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