APN Editorial Director Bryce Johns. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
APN Editorial Director Bryce Johns. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

A new breed of journalists driving progress for your news

AS AN old print guy who has spent more than 30 years working on newspapers, nothing will ever beat the feel of newsprint for me.

But after a tour of our 12 daily paper sites, I have to concede the iPad or laptop brings me news with a lot more pizzazz.

We have some amazingly talented young people (and a few oldies) who are loving the creative tools online gives them.

Yes, as you'd expect we've delivered on video, with views and the number of videos to watch more than doubling in a year.

But the other interactive elements being trialled by our digital producers across Queensland and northern New South Wales are taking readers to a different world.

There's more audio than ever. Using Soundcloud, our teams are embedding audio files more regularly in stories and time spent on those pieces is surging. Not everyone is an avid reader, so hearing the story read or an interview are great alternatives.

We're also building much more interactive graphics around major events, with clickable pictures and maps.

To see one of our recent best, go to The Morning Bulletin's website and search for "taipan bite snake catcher", then click on the story: Snake catcher did own first aid after bite, died 50 mins later.

We're also more easily able to translate data into bite size visual pieces, making them easy to digest. Using Google fusion tables is far and away the best way to display stats and numbers.

Other simple tools such as Google Maps are an interactive way to mark places on a map and offer little snippets of information. We did one this year marking all the road deaths in the state. Click and see what happened on that white cross.

These and other cool one-offs are all thanks to the new breed of journalist seeking better ways to tell their stories.

Look out for names such as Kieran Bicheno (Brisbane), Will Hunter (South Burnett Times), Luke Mortimer (Gladstone Observer) and Tessa Mapstone (Sunshine Coast Daily).

They're making today's journalist more relevant than ever.

Bryce Johns is the editorial director of Australian Regional Media.