Coffee Cafe...and a Newsroom?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

That's right, two newspapers are attempting to keep afloat in this volatile economy by "wooing" customers with coffee. We know that the journalism industry is in trouble. With a slew of obstacles contributing to the decline in newspaper circulation and revenue, a few have taken it upon themselves to try something a little different. The American Journalism Review documented these new alternatives.

The Winnipeg Free Press in Canada was the first to initiate a newsroom that also doubled as a chic, coffee hot spot. By moving into the artsy district of downtown Winnipeg and opening up the newsroom for hopeful journalist and people who love their caffeinated start to the day, the paper was able to implement a winning strategy: get people more involved with the news by bringing the news to them in an unconventional way. On any given day these "news cafes" can be found full of journalist, staffers and the regulars who frequent the new home of these newspapers.

Canada, however, is not the only country with a news cafe. America totes Torrington, Connecticut as home to the Register Citizen which boasts a newsroom cafe as its office as well. An article about this newspaper documented their change, and stated that in December of last year the company moved its remaining newsroom and staff into another factory and fashioned it into their main headquarters. The Register Citizen is now completely operating solely out of these two locations.

On top of adding more appeal and local involvement into the news, these papers have begun to offer education. Classes will be starting on HTML programming, blogging, video editing and media law-this one most importantly to learn how to "not lose your home by defaming someone."

Newsroom cafes were not implemented to initiate the extinction of the journalist, but rather to build a stronger relationship with the community and add depth and perspective to reporting. Although these "cafes" are in their early stages compared to the traditional papers, they appear to already be making quit an impact. I think if The Des Moines Register opened up a prototype of these newsroom cafes I would put down the red bull, pick up a coffee and have a great new spot to learn about the inner workings of journalism and reporting.


Rachel Smith October 5, 2011 at 6:36 AM  

I think this is a great way for journalists to reach out to the community. This allows their readers to get to know the reporters and therefore build credibility, sources, and even market their paper.

David Wiley October 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

I wonder if this is a sign of genius or of desperation?

Bookstores have integrated coffee shops for years, and I would think that it has been a successful marriage between those two industries. I'm sure that the same level of success would be found with newspapers, especially if the regular citizens can help feel like they are a part of the newspaper.

In fact, I think that people would be more likely to pay for an online subscription to those newspapers because it will feel like a more important part of the community.

What other industry partnerships do you think would be successful with newspapers? I'm thinking pizza by the slice would draw a crowd.

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