Editor’s notebook: Changing of the guard — For some Alabama newspapers, it’s a different world in 2013
by Hardy Jackson
Star Commentary
Feb 01, 2013 | 2032 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new age of digital journalism is doing more than changing how readers get their news. It is changing how that news is presented — right down to the building from which it eminates.

Few things have underscored this change more clearly than the recent announcement that the office buildings that house the Birmingham News and the Mobile Press-Register will be put up for sale. The announcement was made by the companies responsible for the change, the Alabama Media Group and Advance Central Services Alabama.

These facilities were impressive in “their day,” which was not so long ago; the Mobile facility opened in 2002. However, they simply do not fit the character of the new companies’ mission, according to Cindy Martin, president of Alabama Media Group, and Pam Siddall, who heads Advance Central Services Alabama.

For an example of what they want their new offices to be, the presidents pointed to the “hub” they opened in Montgomery and the one planned for Huntsville. These facilities are in locations that are easy for the public to access and are therefore more “conducive to community socialization,” which is another goal of the companies.

So it follows that when change comes, it comes in waves. First there was the reorganization. Then there were staff layoffs. Then fewer daily papers. And now comes the reconfiguration of the space where news “papers” are produced. Soon, no one will remember the clatter of the linotype machine. The click of typewriters has been replaced with the muted sound of computer keys. And the old cry, “stop the presses,” will no longer be heard.

In its place will be “don’t hit send.”

This may prove to be a better way to get the news to the people, but it won’t be the same as what it once was. That much is certain.
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