PUBLISHED: 10:42 AM on Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Embracing change in the newsroom
Change can be a terrifying beast to deal with. As humans, we're most comfortable and confident with what's familiar to us, and anything conflicting with those routines are threatening.

But I learned long ago that sometimes you just can't fight change, no matter how badly you may want to.

In recent years "change" has become the number one career killer in my profession. Every few months I'll read an article about a large metropolitan newspaper that cut dozens, and in some cases hundreds (i.e. New York, L.A. and Seattle Times), of staff positions because of decreased readership.

You could say the internet is to blame for it all. People just don't read newspapers the same way they used to.

Fewer people sit down and read the morning paper with a hot cup of coffee than those who surf the web as soon as they get to work.

The Internet caters to the impatient reader. A few clicks of the mouse can tell you everything that happened between Main Street and Myanmar, China.

I'm not fighting the change anymore. If I don't grow with the industry I'll eventually be as obsolete to journalism as the pica ruler.

As scary and uncertain as change is, it's also enthralling when embraced with open arms. For non-daily publications like the CCW, the web has become the ultimate equalizer.

It's no longer about who has the larger circulation, staff or who goes to print more often - we all upload information at the same speed regardless of daily, weekly, monthly or annual publishing.

During the past few months I've thrown myself into publishing more online content and to be honest, it's as addictive as a caffeine and offers the same rush (if you're a journalist).

Many of you refer to us as "The Weekly." But that tag undersells what we do here. Sure, the CCW prints once a week, but we publish online content daily. We've even had to re-evaluate how the CCW uploads breaking news and updates because I got a little carried away with uploading news a few weeks back.

What a lot of you read each week in our paper was published on our web site several days earlier. Plus, we've added more photo galleries and video clips than ever before, thank to our overworked web master, Hayden.

The other benefit I recently learned about online publishing is the opportunity for user interaction. Along with my own blog that recently went online, we're working on several others that will allow readers to post community news and events. Our "You Spotted" gallery enables users to upload their own photos (as many as you want) to share with the world. The CCW web site is as much for you, the reader, as it is for the staff to use.

I won't claim to know where the print newspaper industry is headed, or how it will work alongside new media in the future, but the changes going on offer new opportunities for readers and reporters alike.

In the digital age of journalism there are no limitations to what we can do or when. Visit us online and you'll see what I mean.

Charles Westmoreland is managing editor of the CCW. E-mail him at