Washington Post Visit

I was shocked at the style and design of the Washingtonpost.com newsroom. Everything looked so neat and in its proper place; it looked nothing like a television newsroom. The employees all seemed young and the place was so quiet. It felt like a luxury library. I was also surprised by the number of people being trained to do some sort of multimedia in addition to print stories. Everyone says journalists need to be multifaceted, and the Post.com seems to be on the right path. I just wonder how much on-camera these print reporters will eventually do. John Kelley is a funny guy but he has an annoying voice and doesn't look that great on television. Does he deserve all of that air time in addition to writing for the paper? It will be interesting to see how far the Post.com takes its video component.

Washington Post visit

Today's visit was a huge eye opener for me in the sense that I need to learn more skills and hone all my abilities to compete in this field. It is a broadcast vs. print battle and I am not sure there is a winner in the end. This visit made me more intersted in learning about broadcast practices and skills because it appears that that is the future but at the same time, he insisted that the key to any job, journalism or not, is strong writing skills.

I thought it was funny when he was talking about social networking and its advancements in changing the face of jounalism. I was thinking about our ethics discussion and whether it is appropriate, as a journalist, to go into chatrooms to find and meet people for possible stories. It got me thinking about finding people by social networking because even if you are not friends with someone on facebook or myspace, you are bound to know someone who knows them or a way to find them. These "friends" we have are our connection to everyone else on the internet and it is scary to think about how easy it is to find someone, it is just as easy for a reporter to find you or to create a story idea based on your conversations with friends, pictures and details. Reporters are always looking for hot new ideas!


washingtonpost.com visit

I regularly visit washingtonpost.com. In fact, I read it more than the paper, which often heads straight to the recycle bin. Yet, even as a broadcast student, I had never clicked on the video links before. I was fascinated by the video links he showed us, especially the Tier 2 and Tier 3 types of video. I had never really considered working for the online side of a newspaper outlet before because I figured all their video would be just interviews and adding some B-roll with a cheap video camera. I was impressed by the editing suite and the documentaries on the site, and today's visit has opened up a new avenue for my job search.

Another thing I had never thought about before is that sports reporters don't work in the mornings. I guess I figured that with tennis, golf, the Tour du France, etc. that sports would be a daytime job as well. I knew today would be slow for the sports department, as there are no major professional sports games to cover (the third of three straight days a year that this exists because of the All-Star Game).

I would be interested to see how the Post continues to develop its site to get viewers to visit more pages on the site. I think the toolbar at the top has a lot of potential to be better developed and more efficient for viewers. I think the City Guide could be more prominently displayed, as well. I know in the past, the archives of the Going Out Gurus blog has been difficult to navigate, and I hope that can be improved.

washingtonpost.com trip

What I took away from today's trip to the washingtonpost.com office was a greater realization that today's reporters need to be competent in several media. When I chose to major in journalism three years ago, it never occurred to me that I'd be doing anything beyond writing and editing.

But in my classes here I have heard several times that a print reporter has to be more than just a print reporter. Today's trip reinforced that.

One specific point Chet Rhodes mentioned was that print reporters need to feel comfortable talking about their stories intelligently in front of a camera. I had thought about this recently, but in a slightly different light. I regularly listen to Washington Post Radio, and I often hear reporters being interviewed about the stories they write. So I figured that reporters working for the paper were also expected to be able to give a good radio interview.

But there's more to it than that. A "real" reporter needs to be able to write, edit, photograph, talk about his story on the radio, take audio and video clips, and talk about the story in front of a camera. And don't forget those Web skills.

washingtonpost.com trip

Brian Katkin

Washingtonpost.com is the first online journalism newsroom that I have ever visited. I thought it looked fairly similar to other newsrooms. Before I arrived, I was expecting it to be a little different in that I was expecting it to be significantly smaller with fewer employees.

When Chet was talking to us in the conference room, one thing in particular stuck with me. I thought it was particularly interesting when he said that the way to succeed in the journalism industry is not to continue staying one-dimensional with the journalism tract you’re on now, but to learn something else. For instance, if you’re doing print journalism, start trying to learn aspects of broadcast journalism and vice versa.

With regards to the Web site, I thought it was interesting that Chet pointed out where on the page users are more likely to click. I would imagine it’s a little bothersome to video journalists, like Travis Fox, when well-done video packages (i.e. the Darfur video package) are in places on the page where users are unlikely to click. I also thought it was interesting that washingtonpost.com has so many different types of video players; I would have thought that it would be easier to simply decide upon one and make that the uniform video player throughout the Web site.

Post Visit

I could not believe how many people worked at washingtonpost.com. It truly was amazing they had upwards of 200 people employed there. This added to the fact that they had very little original content seemed very odd.
Also to be a bit trivial, the starting salaries were also extremely high. Danny and I were talking about this and think it is most likely due to the fact that it is a tech job, which are still increasing in demand and salary.
Visiting the offices and seeing that they really do a lot more than just writing made online a very attractive option if broadcasting is not the correct path for me.

Washingtonpost.com Field Trip Reflections

I enjoyed today's tour of washingtonpost.com's newsroom; it was surely not what I expected or imagined it would be. I thought it would be an archaic and monotonous office-setting with traditional cubicles with the chaos and commotion that's stereotypically associated with newsrooms, such as phones ringing off the hook, reporters shouting to one another across the newsroom, editors running around frantically to publish the next story, etc. Instead, the office was quite tranquil, modernized and well-designed to meet the needs for the 21st century.

I was quite surprised to see the broadcast (radio and television) elements and aspects of Washingtonpost.com. I was even more surprised and even a little anxious when Chet informed us of how not only the print, but also the broadcast industry is declining, more rapidly than what I initially thought, and that everything is truly converging unto the Web.

I would have to firmly agree with Chet and say that Washingtonpost.com has too much going on in their main page, which can be very inundating and distracting to visitors who may be easily turned off by just the overwhelming amount of information. For me personally, it's way too cluttered for me to denote what's important, especially on the bottom portion of the home page. One specific ad that annoys me each time I go to Washingtonpost.com is the main page advertisement that automatically enlarges to the size of your computer screen and doesn't go away fast enough. I believe that the broadcast features and elements (photos, videos and audio) are working quite well on the site with the traditional text; it just needs more publicity and awareness in order to attract visitors to the site.

Though, all in all, I had an enjoyable experience at the Washingtonpost.com office.


While I regularly go to check my news at www.washingtonpost.com, I am sometimes distracted by the large advertisements on the page. For example, today's home page has a huge rectangular ad for Covidien, which takes up at least one third of the page. I know that advertisements are crucial for an online site to keep functioning, but I think they should be placed elsewhere on the page. You don't see large ads taking up large portions of the front page of the hard copy, so why have it on the online copy? I also dislike how the site puts the "Most Viewed" articles section at the top. I don't think that this is very important information and would fit better at the bottom of the page.
One of my favorite part's of Washingtonpost.com is the city guide. I think this attracts more than just the average person interested in reading the daily news. I also love how easy this site is to navigate. It is very easy to find what you are looking for-whether it be sports, cooking, fashion, archives, etc.

washingtonpost.com field trip

I learned a lot from today's field trip to washingtonpost.com. I use the site almost daily, but I was surprised when Chet showed us the new video application at the bottom of the home page. I don't recall seeing it and I know for sure that I haven't used it yet. I thought it was interesting that it does matter where these sorts of things are placed; some site users may never get to it if they don't scroll down!

I thought it was interesting when Chet talked about how the site uses three different ways to present video clips and how that was not a good thing because it confuses users. I know for me, I'm really impatient so when I try to watch clips and they take forever to load or I can't work the program, then I don't even bother to try. I think it's important that washingtonpost.com works together to find the best and most efficient way to stream their video clips.

I was also surprised at the laid-back and quiet environment of the whole office. When I think of newsrooms, I think of phones ringing non-stop, reporters running around, sounds of television news and messy papers everywhere. I guess since Chet said the main tasks they do at this specific office are produce blogs and media clips, the environment is less chaotic then the main office for The Washington Post would be.