About 20 community reporters for Gannett’s Arizona Republic have been told they’ll become “mobile reporters,” filing stories from McDonald’s, Starbucks or other public places with Wi-Fi. (My suggestion: Avoid Starbucks, which has painfully slow Wi-Fi. I’m writing this from Peet’s Coffee and Tea, which has fast Internet.)
“The move is expected to save money and be the next step in the Republic’s digital coverage,” reports Phoenix Business Journal’s Hayley Ringle, a former Phoenix reporter.
Update: I asked Republic staffers for more information — and memos — about this move and got this response:
The move isn’t quite as bad as that article made it seem. Reporters can work from home, there will be some docking stations downtown and in the Tempe space, they just won’t have an actual desk anywhere. Yes, it’s a money-saving measure, but it’s also a means to get the reporters out of the office and into the community. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. About half of the reporters are excited and the other half not so much.
I know this sounds like it’s coming from an apologist, but believe me, it isn’t. The thing that bothers me most is that we were told yesterday that there are still many things that need to be hashed out. Flying by the seat of our pants again.
There has been no memo, just a meeting with the top dogs, community editors and peons yesterday.