retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Here on MNB, we've made a lot of the ownership transition at the Washington Post, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos buying the venerable newspaper for $250 million and promising to bring the paper into the digital 21st century.

Well, that's not the only paper where the technology world is having an impact.

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that the Arizona Republic has informed a number of reporters that they will be given laptops and are expected to become "mobile reporters," working without a traditional office and filing stories from places like Starbucks and McDonald's that offer free wi-fi.

According to the story, "Some reporters said they could work from home, but others said they were being asked not to work from home and instead be out in the field as much as possible. Reporters are being asked to take home their files, and keep them in their car or at home. The move is expected to save money and be the next step in the Republic’s digital coverage, sources say." While the paper actually is moving to new offices, the story says that reporters will not be given desks, and will be expected only to come in for the occasional meeting.

I find this fascinating and not necessarily encouraging - one of the things that I remember most fondly from my days as a newspaper reporter was the interplay and interaction among reporters ... that was how you learned and grew and gained wisdom and intelligence. (Think of the newsroom scenes from All The President's Men, which are painstakingly realistic.)

This is hardly the end of journalism as we know it. But it is yet another symbol of how traditional businesses are changing to cope with how the world is evolving.

It can happen to anyone.

And it is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: