The benefit of inefficiency

People, lots of them, use process and provide knowledge to produce high quality news.


A traditional daily has a well-staffed newsroom with built-in layers of review and a hierarchy of expertise.

Stories are read more than once, by more than one person — perhaps by a city editor first, then a copy editor, then a page designer. Photographers and a graphic artist add images and illustrations to the most important stories of the day, thus providing more ways to capture reader interest, to clarify and explain.

The hierarchy of positions, from reporter to editor to managing editor and up, provides a career path for novices. They stay longer; they learn more.

The result is a well-trained staff of long tenure that has broad knowledge of the communities the paper serves, extending back many years.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the count of editors will decline 5 percent from 2014-2024, a drop of 6,200 positions. It predicts the number of reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts will decline 9 percent from 2014-2024, a drop of 4,800 positions.

Is it possible today for one person to report a story, take photos, write the story, edit it, then design a page and send it out online — alone? Sure. Will the content of that page measure up to that of a traditional daily? How could it? And how long could that one-man-band last before burning out? Before that business model fails?

Computers and software make us very efficient, merging many jobs into one. Perhaps one of a traditional daily’s benefits is its inefficiencies. It is those inefficiencies that provide journalists with interesting, stable jobs and provide the newspaper’s readers with well-reported, well-edited stories.


Author: TAM

For more about me, please visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s