The changing face of news in the digital age: Q&A with Emily Ramshaw, The Texas Tribune

 The following is part of the Storyology Speaker Spotlight series, a collaboration between The Walkley Foundation and content marketing agency King Content. For more information on King Content visit www.kingcontent.com.au.

The Walkley Foundation is gearing up for Storyology – a must for Australian journalists and writers. In December, great minds from the industry will be heading to Sydney to share their thoughts about all aspects of storytelling today.

Emily Ramshaw is the editor of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, the award-winning Tribune continues to prove itself as a leading, innovative news website that is financially viable in the online space.

“You embrace the fact that change is the only certainty in our field.”

Get to know Emily’s opinion of how news and journalism is changing in the digital age and what’s driving these changes in the industry below – and find out more at Storyology.

Interviewer: Could you introduce us to a day in the life of your role?

Emily: The average day at The Texas Tribune starts with coffee (obviously) and a quick perusal of the day ahead. What stories do we intend to tell? What breaking news are we anticipating? Where are our reporters in this great big state?

The rest of the day unravels from there and includes:

• Meeting with our marketing team about the previous day’s analytics and promotion of upcoming projects.

• Talking to our development director about a new grant that will let us expand a coverage area.

• Collaborating with an outside news partner on a video series we’re jointly developing.

• Editing quick spot news out of a legislative hearing or a political speech.

• Negotiating with our news apps team on a major data explorer we’re preparing to roll out.

By the afternoon (my favourite time of day), deadlines are fast approaching and it’s time to start cranking through copy, choosing art, setting headlines and building a ‘front page’ of sorts for the site.

Interviewer: What is the most exciting part about your job?

It would be easy to say election nights – they’re thrilling and nail-biting, and filled with political intrigue and speculation. But I’d have to say the most exciting part of my job at this juncture is being at the intersection of news and audience development. It’s having the shared responsibility of leading a competitive, driven newsroom and helping to grow its audience for the years to come.

Interviewer: How would you describe journalism to someone who had never come across it before?

Journalism is storytelling that provides a truthful, contextual window on to the world – across all platforms and formats.

Interviewer: Tell us about how you have seen journalism change in the past five years and what you think has driven this change.

I’ve watched traditional newsrooms speed up their transition to digital, and digital newsrooms speed up their transition to mobile. I’ve also seen a marked shift in how stories are told – from an emphasis on being first to break the news to an emphasis on being best at explaining the news.

What’s driving these changes? The continuing evolution of journalism’s business models, shifting readership patterns and trends, and increased competition in the digital and mobile markets.

Interviewer: What are your top three favourite publications and why?

The New York Times is still the world’s most comprehensive source of news and information, across nations, platforms and delivery methods. Vox.com is leading the charge behind explanatory journalism that makes the news accessible and digestible to an increasingly busy and over-served market. Quartz provides worldwide business news with an entry point for non-experts, and does it with the most clean and elegant design out there.

Interviewer: What will you share at Storyology?

I plan to share The Texas Tribune’s approach to finding a sustainable financial model for journalism; our efforts to tell stories that connect with audiences across platforms and mediums; and the tricks and tools we employ to make politics and policy sexy for Texas news consumers.

 

Emily will be a keynote speaker at the Storyology session titled ‘Doing the Math’, examining how a scrappy digital news  start-up in Texas sought sustainability — and made the numbers work. She will also sit on two panel discussions and host a masterclass about storytelling. Download the full program and get your tickets today.