Seeds of Cross-Media Production
We present an empirical study of an organization that has recently moved from traditional newspaper production towards cross-media production involving the integrated digital production of newspaper, television, radio and web-news. The paper focuses on the daily production rhythms of the media separately and of cross-media production. Since cross-media production is in the making, we study the instruments currently used for planning and coordination, and analyze them as seeds that will eventually make cross-media production happen. Time and timing are important in news production in general, and our analyses focus on the rhythm of the daily planning, coordination and production processes. Specifically, we analyze the temporal coordination of the activities in and around the Superdesk – the current center of coordination of the news organization, and of the persons who work specifically with planning and coordination. We demonstrate how the production rhythms of the individual media collide with that of cross-media, and how product lifecycle rhythms add to the list of causes of problems that may jeopardize cross-media production. We propose to strengthen planning and overview support elements of the Superdesk, and the main new coordinator role of the organization. We point out how the media rhythms of newspaper in particular must be backgrounded. To achieve cross-media production, the starting point must be to strengthening and developing further the cross-media rhythms, rather than supplementing individual media rhythms.