Newspaper Editors Confront Identity Crisis

by: Frank Barnako

People attending the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference in Washington this week may have to think about tweaking the section of their resumes where they list "Memberships."

The group’s President thinks it is worth studying whether to drop the word "newspaper" from its name. ASNE president Dave Zeeck told the group its "very identity" must be considered.

"Do we work for newspaper companies or news companies?" he wondered. In a world where reporters write for online, do blogs, record podcasts, and deliver video stand-ups, "Does the single word 'newspaper' really define who we are?" He showed a new logo for the group which reads, "ASNE - Leading America's Newsrooms."

Judging from the program for the four-day conference, the Internet is clearly on the editors' minds. At least half a dozen panels are addressing what's called "the digital revolution."

The Web will be front and center at Thursday morning's sessions when Interactive Corp.'s (IACI) Barry Diller, the Washington Post Co.'s (WPO) Donald Graham, and Huffington Post co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer will be on a panel.

Too bad, despite all the talk about interactivity and online, the ASNE Web site does not have a blog. But the ASNE Reporter is doing good coverage of the conference’s program.