Research Methodology: Four Key Uses of Design in the Newsroom
To see the ways design is being used in newsrooms, I selected four people and four organizations to investigate.
Product Development: The most obvious place to start was new product development. I chose BuzzFeed because, unlike most legacy news organizations, product development is an integral part of how it does business. In addition, I’d been impressed with BuzzFeed’s recent focus on mobile innovation under the direction of Stacy-Marie Ishmael. After discussion with Ishmael, I decided to focus on product design manager Sabrina Majeed. In our interview, I asked her to give a nuts-and-bolts account of the design sprints she leads.
Audience Engagement: Next, I selected Emily Goligoski at The New York Times because she had recently been embedded in the newsroom as a design researcher, the first position of its kind at The Times. While graphic designers have long been in newsrooms, design research work has generally been relegated to the business side of operations. I spoke with Goligoski both about why design research belongs in the newsroom and the specifics of what she does.
Identity Across Platform: Since news organizations today must distribute across a multitude of platforms, I wanted to investigate the use of design in creating a coherent experience for users. In 2013, NPR created the new position of creative director and hired Liz Danzico. I was interested in understanding what design had to offer a news organization based on audio experiences. In our interview, I asked her what kind of design process she uses in her work at NPR.
Civic Journalism: One of the most interesting ways design is being used in newsrooms is as part of the reporting process itself. With its emphasis on a more collaborative relationship between producer and consumer, I was curious about the ways design-infused editorial work is being used as the next step in civic or community journalism. I chose to speak with Michelle Holmes, executive director of content for AL.com, because I knew she had gone to the d.school at Stanford and tried to directly apply some of the design thinking work she’d learned. We spoke about how design processes do and don’t fit directly into editorial work.