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 Justin.tv. The Mercury News is using Justin.tv to stream live video of local events such as Little League games.
Fong recommended several free or low-cost tools, including:
- Audacity for audio
- Sound Slides for audio slide shows
- Justin.tv for live video streaming
- VisualHub for converting video on a Mac
-- Nicole Mooradian