I was recently in London to visit several newsrooms, and above is a photo of what I saw at the Telegraph Media Group.
They have a large newsroom at the centre of their London offices. It’s an impressive open space with people grouped around desks.
“It looks like a trading floor,” I said to my guide as we stood on a staircase looking down.
“It’s based on Salomon Brothers,” he said.
Journalists as traders. It makes sense. We are traders of information, always searching for what others don’t know, and then working to publish it to, inform the public gain attention, influence and market share.
It was easy to see why it could work to design a newsroom like a trading floor. After all, this is the characteristic image of the trader’s desk:
It’s increasingly the same for journalists. Here’s a photo the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley shared of his setup while covering the Olympics:
Though our need to constantly track information and act on it is similar, there’s one big difference between the journalist and the trader.
A trader has a Bloomberg or Thomson terminal that feeds them the information they need, in real-time, from multiple quality sources of their choosing. These terminals also enable traders to act quickly on information to do their job.
Journalists may have the monitors, but we don’t have the integrated platform. We don’t have the terminal.
We rely on tools that were built for a general audience, not for journalists. Our information sources are scattered across platforms: news databases like Factiva and Nexis, photo databases, internal archives, social streams, websites, RSS feeds…
Each tool has a different purpose. They don’t talk to each other. They rarely if ever integrate. And so we need to keep adding screens to be able to watch them all.
We research, search and read in one group of apps, curate and annotate in another, and write and publish in yet another group.
This is madness.
It wastes times, prevents collaboration and other efficiencies, and ultimately degrades the work product.
People work better with better workflow. That feeling of being overwhelmed and of rushing from one application to the next and missing things? That’s a workflow problem.
Of course, problems are more useful to talk about if you can also come up with a solution.
We built Spundge as the terminal for journalists. You can read, research, filter, curate, annotate, collaborate, and write in one place that’s built for journalists and other content creators. Then syndicate your content and material where it needs to go, be that a CMS, social stream, email newsletter, or other target.
Today at the Online News Association Conference in San Francisco we’re opening up the free version of the platform, and offering free trials for our paid Pro offering.
The free version, which you can access simply by signing in here, enables journalists to read, research, filter, save and annotate content from the web, news sources, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Flickr.
You can scan all of these sources at once, read and save what you need and discard what you don’t.
Spundge also enables you to filter by location, date range, language, and more.
Invite colleagues and friends to collaboratively curate a notebook around a beat or topic of interest. Then take that curated collection of results and turn it into a real-time stream you can embed anywhere on the web.
What does that look like? We have a microsite to show you some of the great notebooks being curated by our early testers at places such as Digital First Media, Quartz, Fast Company, and The Guardian.
Spundge Pro adds a powerful suite of writing, publishing and collaboration tools. For more about Pro features see this page.
If you want to go Pro, just Tweet us at @Spunge or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll set you up at ONA. (If you’re not at ONA but want to test Spundge in your newsroom, get in touch by email.)
Spundge helps you save time and create better content – together.
It’s a Bloomberg terminal for journalists. It’s an end to workflow madness and the start of something more efficient, more collaborative, and built for what journalists actually do.