Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bild: The Will and the Money

I opted to do a later shift Friday. I had talked to Alex, from the 16th floor, about shadowing him. He's in the print section, and one of the many who are learning how to use the software to build web pages. I asked him if he had volunteered or if the department told him he had to do it. The order came from above, although he did say that he wanted to learn it, he just wasn't planning on doing it at this time.

Too me it's interesting to see how a clear office structure is set up, in this case, top down. I haven't figured out who is a permanent full time employee and who is a stringer, or temporary, hourly worker. In public broadcasting if you're Festangestellte as the Germans call it, it's almost impossible to be removed. I don't think the online folks are permanent - I think they're contract, but I will have to look into that.

I don't sense a certain fear in the online department. Everyone is quite collegial and chatty and focused on getting the work done. The will to change course of this massive publishing ship is internalized in every editor in the online department. And most importantly, which I think a lot of people forget, the organization has pumped money into creating a space and providing the tools so that they can do the work.

It sounds simple, perhaps even simplistic. But it got me thinking that perhaps the reason public broadcasting in the US is slow to change is because they see they don't have the tools to pull off a comprehensive content shift to online. In this case, money is key and might even open the door to the will to change things.

No comments: