USA Today's parent company Gannett has reportedly begun outfitting its news staff with thousands of iPhones and iPads in an attempt to create a mobile newsroom focused on real-time storytelling, social media integration, and a more video-centric approach to the news.
The report stems from a memo allegedly sent by U.S. Newspapers Division President Bob Dickey to employees on Wednesday, uncovered by the independently run Gannett Blog, which is tracking the company as well as the digital news transition.
In it we find a rare concession from the traditional news media that technology is changing the way people consume the news. "Readers' speedy adoption of new technology for news consumption creates new opportunities for us to uniquely serve them. To do so, we must ensure our journalists are equipped and trained on the tools to work in new ways."
And that means plenty of new iPhones and iPads.
Dickey specifically cites the iPhone's capability to capture audio and video (along with microphones and other accessories for enhancing that process) and the iPad 2's lightweight portability. Also noted in the memo were MiFi units or tethering via iPhone for mobile Wi-Fi access.
Units are to arrive to publishers and editors sometime in January with company-wide training to take place some weeks after, according to the memo.
As services like Facebook and Twitter, combined with the power of bloggers worldwide, threaten traditional news organizations' capability to break major stories, it's good to see that the skilled reporters in a major news company will be given access to, and encouraged to use, many of the same tools that make social media and blogs so successful when it comes to reporting stories in real time.
Have you participated in any news reporting via social media, blogs, CNN iReport, or other format? Let me know your experience in the comments!