The digital journey: how British newspapers are adapting to the online challenge

Typically thoughtful report by Roy Greenslade, who has been round the editorial floors of the Telegraph, Financial Times and Times.

In a sense, the online revolution is like a train journey without a destination. As soon as one paper arrives at a station that had once appeared to be a terminus, another title has built a new line and sped onwards. Despite the differences, everyone seems clear about the general direction to take towards an otherwise mysterious objective: the future of news-gathering and news delivery is tied to the screen.

For the moment, given the need to keep on printing while simultaneously uploading, it means driving as fast as possible towards a brave new world while keeping the engines running at full power in the old – but still lucrative and popular – world of newsprint.

Inevitably, this split has proved uncomfortable, both in journalistic terms and, seen from the perspective of owners and managers, in financial terms too. In company with editors, they have set the course to reach a single station named “Integration”. It is now clear that the days of binary staffing, with journalists for print and journalists for web, are virtually over. In most offices the initial scepticism about the utility and viability of online news has long since passed…