Saturday, December 21, 2013

Extreme Makeover: KJZZ Newsroom Edition

The all new KJZZ Newsroom.
The KJZZ Newsroom prior to the recent renovation.
Just in time for the holidays, the KJZZ newsroom has a brand new look! The listener-supported public radio station located at Rio Salado College in Tempe, has undergone an extreme makeover, going from an outdated modular setting to a high-tech journalism center.

"The new KJZZ newsroom is an open, collaborative space, designed for journalists to work together and create compelling stories,” said KJZZ Associate General Manager Mark Moran. “Before the makeover, KJZZ's journalists were boxed into cubicles that didn't exactly inspire creativity and inventiveness.”

Collaboration was a key factor in the newsroom renovation.

“It's the same direction being taken by many of the country's Fortune 500 companies,” Moran said. “We wanted to facilitate reporters being able to exchange ideas, check facts and plan for the future. Most importantly, the space is designed so that nobody is ever sitting in the same place two days in a row. It's truly collaborative and flexible.”

Veteran Valley reporter Steve Goldstein, host of KJZZ’s “Here and Now” and co-host of “The Show,” thinks the new work environment is a welcome change.

"We've been in the current space in the Rio Salado College Tower for more than a decade, so reconstructing the newsroom has generated new ways of looking at the world,” Goldstein said. “Now we're seeing each other through frosted glass rather than staring at the side of a cubicle, fostering better face to face communication.”

“Ideas can be expressed to a colleague by either rolling over a chair or even overhearing another conversation and jumping in to make a suggestion or share a source."

Renovations to the newsroom also include new wireless technology that allows for completion of digital editing work on the fly while decreasing time spent on filing and uploading stories.

“We invested in several layers of technology that allow us to stay apace of what is going on in the world on multiple media platforms,” Moran said. “With the technology now in place, we are able to hold virtual editorial meetings with reporters in different states simultaneously, or in fact, in other parts of the world, if necessary.”

The newsroom renovation was funded through a generous donation made by Deeann Griebel, a member of the KJZZ Leadership society.

“I am thrilled to be able to provide funding for the renovation of KJZZ’s newsroom through the Friends of Public Radio Arizona,” Griebel said. “Having an organization like KJZZ that provides balanced, honest reporting is vital to our society.”

Moran agreed, saying the newsroom renovation will ultimately benefit KJZZ listeners.

“Taking down barriers fosters increased communication, more vibrant workers, better story ideas, more productivity and, in the end, more well-rounded in-depth news stories for our listeners,” Moran said.

91.5 KJZZ is an NPR member station that is a community service of Rio Salado College and licensed to the Maricopa Community Colleges, serving nearly 300,000 weekly listeners.