Sentinel & Enterprise to launch virtual operationFebruary 05, 2018
Sentinel & Enterprise to launch virtual operation
FITCHBURG -- The Sentinel & Enterprise is saying farewell to the two-story brick building on Main Street that it has called home for decades, and taking its local news, advertising and business office to a virtual digital operation.
The move, which will be effective by the end of February, will allow the Sentinel & Enterprise to leverage resources on better area news coverage and advertising services rather than on a bricks-and-mortar building, said Kevin Corrado, publisher of the Sentinel & Enterprise and The Sun of Lowell -- both daily news operations -- and weeklies the Nashoba Valley Voice and Dracut Dispatch.
Daily operations and printing of the community newspaper will continue as normal as the Sentinel's reporters, editors and photographers work remotely from the communities they cover.
The newspaper's four sales representatives have transitioned to digital operations, working from the field and at home.
Editor Jim Campanini, who oversees the Fitchburg and Lowell news operations, said Friday the decision marks an early push to adjust newsrooms to reporting in the age of the internet and a 24-hour news cycle.
"We're just evolving in this age of modern and highly innovative journalism that has taken place all across the country," he said. "What we've done is create a different model that will be tapping into all the resources available to us in the company. We're now 23 people strong, combining our Fitchburg staff with The Sun of Lowell and Nashoba Valley Voice.
"This is something we, as Digital First Media (the newspapers' parent company and fourth-largest newspaper chain in the Unites States), have been working toward for over a decade," said Campanini. "The Sentinel & Enterprise and The Sun have actually led the way in digital news reporting and won numerous New England awards for our breaking news and digital coverage."
Campanini said reporters from the Sentinel, Sun and Voice have begun working in teams on regional stories and rotated individually into Fitchburg-area communities as needed.
"This never happened previously until two months ago. If a Sentinel reporter is on vacation a Lowell-based reporter is now deployed into that slot to provide consistent and unbroken coverage for our readers," Campanini said.
No longer having to pay the expenses of the newspaper's current office will also divert more funding to news coverage, Campanini said. A fourth Fitchburg-based reporter, who will also write for the Voice, was added to the Sentinel's staff last month. Mina Corpuz, a Boston University graduate from California, has joined Sentinel staffers Amanda Burke, Elizabeth Dobbins and Peter Jasinski.
An additional editor, Jennifer Paluzzi of the Nashoba Valley Voice, has teamed with Cliff Clark, the Sentinel's city editor, to provide enhanced oversight of local assignments.
A new videographer, Jeffrey Porter of Ayer, joined the staff last week and will complement veteran photographer John Love.
"We've made additions, not subtractions, that will benefit coverage. We couldn't do these things without a commitment to the future and a new way of gathering news and getting it transmitted quicker to our growing digital audience," said Campanini.
Campanini also said that he's optimistic that the paper's new structure of positioning staff throughout its nine-community coverage area, rather than grouping them all in one location, will yield better, more localized content for readers.
"We're now connecting with people faster and developing richer, Main Street level news all the time," he said. "We'll be getting out into the community more and looking for good content and reporting at an eye level that has taken place before, but not to this 100 percent model."
In recent years, other Digital First Media publications have adopted similar structures, most notably, Campanini said, the company's flagship paper, the Denver Post.
The paper is also exploring the possibility of opening a new physical location where readers would be able to interact with editorial staff, though an exact location has not been chosen.
"We're pioneers in that, when we start our day, we're not turning the lights on in a building, we're turning the lights on for Main Street," Campanini said. "Anybody across the country working in the journalism field who sees this should want to be a part of this enterprise, because this is where everybody is headed. I'm proud of the talented journalists in Fitchburg leading this innovative effort to be the best at what we do."
Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53
Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31642079/sentinel-amp-enterprise-launch-virtual-operation#ixzz56F59vdOO