Strange things happen when you're under a death sentence. Under the death sentence is where Philly Daily News staffers believe they found themselves following Knight Ridder's sale to McClatchy. Their sometimes neighborly cousins at the Inquirer knew that there'd be no death sentence for them, but rather a strange limbo, as McClatchy immediately put the Inqy (and the Daily News for that matter) back on the block, its future ownership mega-uncertain.
Even before the sale, staffers at the paper and their fellow-traveling readers and journalism-supporting friends began inventing some kind of alternative future. They've called it NORGs, for the news organization of the 21st century, and I've been a sometimes long-distance participant, joining some new and old friends from my Knight Ridder days.
What is a NORG? We might say we should have figured that out before this little century began, and maybe things would be a bit better for our industry. But you seize the time you have. The NORG group met today in Philly, inaugurating something called the "The Philadelphia Experiment," as they looked for and debated (nicely) ways out of the current morass.
Long-distance, it sounds like a good day's work. It may be most important as a brave noise in the wilderness, the sound of people trying to find a positive future in an industry largely gone negative in revenue growth and spirit.
Check out Daniel Rubin's immediate account of the day, "Blue Sky on Gray Day" for the flavor and ideas of the day. And inventory the ideas in super-blogger Jeff Jarvis' own account of the day, which includes the notion "saving journalism and killing the press." Lots of ideas and the comments are flowing. All the work sites well aside the kinds of ferment we've seen over the last week in Jay Rosen's Press Think blog, especially off his post, Twelve Newsapapers in a State of Nature.
Those serious about finding new ways to rebuild the news trade will find the beginnings of many good ideas.