“We​ ​wanted​ ​more​ ​light​ ​and​ ​less​ ​vermin.”

Executive​ ​Editor​ ​David​ ​Shribman​ ​was​ ​blunt​ ​about​ ​why​ ​he needed​ ​to​ ​move his staff out of​ ​the​ ​historic​ ​offices​ ​of​ ​the Pittsburgh​ ​Post-Gazette, where journalism had been practiced since 1927.

For​ ​some​ ​newsrooms,​ ​relocation​ ​or​ ​new​ ​construction​ offers ​the​ ​best solution​ ​to​ ​several​ ​types​ ​of​ ​problems,​ ​whether​ ​it’s​ ​dealing​ ​with​ ​a newsroom​ ​emptied​ ​from​ ​rounds​ ​of​ ​layoffs,​ ​making​ ​room​ ​for future​ ​growth,​ ​or​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​workspace​ ​tailored​ ​for​ ​new​ ​digital practice.​ ​For​ ​the​ ​Post-Gazette,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ ​walk​ ​away​ ​from the​ ​past​ ​and​ ​not​ ​look​ ​back.

“We​ ​had​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​newsroom​ ​in​ ​history​ ​—​ ​old​ ​building,​ ​no windows,​ ​divided​ ​up​ ​into​ ​little​ ​warrens​ ​because​ ​of weight-bearing​ ​walls,”​ ​Shribman​ ​said.​ ​“It​ ​wasn’t​ ​conducive​ ​to anything.​ ​Ugly,​ ​dirty,​ ​depressing.”

A glimpse back in time: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s historic newsroom as it appeared in 1957, when it housed the Pittsburgh Press. (Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh-Post-Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newsroom around 2001. (Photo by J. Monroe Butler II)

Moving​ ​also​ ​made​ ​economic​ ​sense.​ ​Besides needing ​to replace​ ​the​ ​paper’s​ ​“antediluvian​ ​presses,”​ ​Shribman​ ​recognized the​ ​value​ ​of​ ​the real​ ​estate​ ​on​ ​the​ ​banks​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Allegheny​ ​River​ ​in downtown​ ​Pittsburgh.

“We​ ​were​ ​sitting​ ​on​ ​the​ ​best​ ​piece​ ​of​ ​land​ ​in​ ​Pittsburgh,”​ ​he said,​ ​“and​ ​we​ ​felt​ ​we​ ​could​ ​make​ ​some​ ​money​ ​by​ ​selling​ ​it.”

Robyn​ ​Tomlin,​ ​managing​ ​editor​ ​of​ ​The​ ​Dallas​ ​Morning​ ​News, had​ ​a​ ​similar​ ​opportunity.​ ​The​ ​company​ ​could​ ​invest​ ​in​ ​the newsroom’s​ ​future​ ​by​ ​moving​ ​from​ ​a​ ​historic​ ​building​ ​in​ ​a prime​ downtown ​location — and letting go of nearly $1 million in annual maintenance expenses.

​The Dallas Morning News staff gathered for a group photo in front of the famous “Rock of Truth” in April 2017 to mark the 175th anniversary of parent company A.H. Belo, named for the founder of The Dallas Morning News. (Photo by Evans Caglage)

“We​ ​have​ ​been​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​building​ ​since​ ​the​ ​1940s,​ ​a wonderful​ ​downtown​ ​building​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​history​ ​tied​ ​to​ ​it,” ​Tomlin said​. The building’s​ ​signature​ ​feature is​ a ​three-story-tall inscription ​chiseled​ into its stone facade, known as the “rock​ ​of​ ​truth.”

Like​ ​the​ ​Pittsburgh​ ​Post-Gazette,​ ​the​​ ​News needed​ ​to​ ​distance​ ​itself​ ​psychologically​ ​from​ ​the​ ​past​ ​and​ ​its “crazy​ ​little​ ​hovels​ ​and​ ​hallways”​ ​as​ ​it​ ​transitions​ ​to​ ​a​ ​new​ ​way of​ ​practicing​ ​journalism.

Staff are preparing for their move-in this fall, while the new space is being renovated. In the current building, “it​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​you’re​ ​walking​ ​into​ ​the​ ​1940s​ ​when​ ​you​ ​walk​ ​in here,”​ ​Tomlin​ ​said.​ ​Although​ ​the​ ​inscription​ ​on​ ​the​ ​building​ ​still reflected​ ​the​ ​important​ ​work​ going on​ ​inside — “Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness” — ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the building​ ​did​ ​not.

Dallas Morning News reporters (clockwise from bottom left) Cary Aspinwall, Sarah Mervosh, Sue Ambrose and Terri Langford work in the current newsroom in conventional, but dated, cubicle spaces. (Photo by Irwin Thompson)

But a news organization need not move to innovate its space. For many, it makes sense to stay put and brighten the space, but also rearrange furniture and reorganize teams to reflect new ways of working. For the staff of Treasure​ ​Coast​ ​News, the building and location near downtown Stuart, Florida, were fine. They chose to refresh their newsroom design as they shifted to digital-first publishing.

Each of the media organizations interviewed for this study had its own, right-sized approach to renovating its newsroom — from small, DIY efforts that started with a can of fresh paint to elaborate architectural solutions that re-envisioned the newsroom from the ground up. Although the solutions varied in scope, several themes emerged as newsroom leaders detailed their shared quest to reboot physical space for digital practice.

First​ ​thing,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​a​ ​goal. What​ ​are​ ​you​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​achieve?

Top reasons to renovate or move a newsroom

Make​ ​room​ ​to​ ​grow

“We​ ​had​ ​a​ ​vision​ ​of​ ​having​ ​our​ ​newsroom​ ​on​ ​one​ ​floor,” Washington​ ​Post​ ​Deputy​ Managing​ ​Editor​ ​Tracy​ ​Grant​ ​said of​ Editor​ ​Marty​ ​Baron’s​ ​goal​ ​to​ ​unify​ ​the​ ​newsroom.​ ​

But​ ​no building​ ​in​ ​Washington,​ ​D.C.​, ​offered​ ​a​ ​footprint​ ​large enough​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Post’s​ ​robust,​ ​​growing​​ ​staff​ ​to​ ​reside​ ​on​ ​one floor.​ ​They​ ​saw​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​at​ ​1​ ​Franklin​ ​Square, nicknamed​ ​the​ ​“Batman​ ​building”​ ​because​ ​of​ ​its​ ​two towers​ ​like​ ​Batman’s​ ​ears.

The Washington Post’s new home at 1 Franklin Square is only three blocks from its previous location. A key factor in choosing this location was that it’s within walking distance of the White House. The two-floor newsroom spans 400 feet on the top two floors between the east and west towers. (Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

“We​ ​blew​ ​through​​ ​​the​ ​walls​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​the​ ​east​ ​and​ ​west towers,”​ ​said​ ​Grant,​ ​which coalesced​ ​111,000​ ​square​ ​feet​ ​of​ ​real estate​ ​across​ ​the seventh and eighth floors​ ​into​ ​a​ ​newsroom​ ​that​ ​spans three​ ​quarters​ ​of​ ​a​ ​block.​

A​ ​centralized,​ ​two-story-tall​ editing ​“hub”​ ​is​ ​the​ ​nerve​ ​center​ ​of the​ ​newsroom.​ ​Open​ ​and​ ​vibrant,​ it’s an​ ​elegant​ ​design concession​ ​to​ ​the​ ​division​ ​of​ ​labor​ ​across​ ​two​ ​floors, offering easy passage​ ​and clear views from one floor to another. Moving the​ ​editing​ ​hub to​ ​the​ ​center​ ​of​ ​the​ ​newsroom​ connects teams and activities from across the organization and emphasizes ​the Post’s silo-busting and digital focus.

A news organization as large as The Washington Post can’t fit its entire editorial staff on one floor. To make it easier for staff to move between the two floors of the newsroom, architects incorporated stairs into the central design. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

In contrast to the Post, ​Quartz​ ​was a startup within an older company, Atlantic Media. It had​ ​rapidly​ ​outgrown​ ​its​ ​open-floor newsroom​ ​and​ ​was​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​move​ ​to​ ​its​ ​third​ ​location​ ​in New​ ​York​ ​City​ ​in​ ​as​ ​many​ ​years.​ ​Its​ ​staff​ ​had​ ​grown​ ​from 36 in 2014 to 151 and counting. While some employees are in remote locations as part of a global team, the space needed for the staff in New York had tripled.

​Zach​ ​Seward, executive​ ​editor​ and senior​ ​vice president​ ​of​ ​product​, sought​ ​a​ ​space​ ​that​ would ​accommodate​ his ​growing​ ​team and maintain​ ​its open​ ​layout.​ ​He​ ​settled on​ ​the​ ​fourth​ ​floor​ ​of​ ​675​ ​Avenue​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Americas​ ​in​ ​the Flatiron​ ​District.

Seward​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​his​ ​team​ ​on​ ​one​ ​floor​ ​—​ ​for​ ​now. “I​ ​rue​ ​the​ ​day​ ​when​ ​we​ ​will​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​on​ ​more​ ​than​ one,” he​ ​said.

Reduce footprint after consolidation

At The Virginian-Pilot the need was contraction, not growth.

In 2016, “we​ ​closed​ ​our​ ​bureaus​ ​and​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​be​ ​one​ ​happy family,”​ ​said​ ​Rachel​ ​Jones,​ ​news​ ​operations​ ​team leader​ ​for​ ​The Virginian-Pilot​ ​in​ Norfolk.​ Jones​ ​reorganized​ ​the​ ​newsroom​ with ​a​ ​digital-first​ ​focus. Some​ ​administrative​ ​positions​ ​were​ ​cut​ ​to make room​ ​for digital​ ​hires.​ ​

“We​ ​knew​ ​we​ ​had​ ​to​ ​change​ ​our​ ​way​ ​of thinking,​ ​our​ ​way​ ​of​ ​selling,​ ​how​ ​we​ ​handle​ ​everything​ ​we do​ ​as​ ​a​ ​company,”​ ​Jones​ ​said. That included revamping the newsroom.

“We​ ​were​ ​going​ ​to​ ​build​ ​new​ ​offices,​” she said. “We​ ​couldn’t​ ​afford​ ​it.” ​Instead,​ ​she used​ ​imagination,​ ​creative​ ​layouts,​ ​new​ ​furniture​ ​and​ ​some bright​ colors​ ​to​ ​consolidate​ ​and​ ​inspire​ ​the newsroom.

We’re​ ​going​ ​from​ ​an​ ​organization​ ​that​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​offices​ ​to​ ​one that​ ​has​ ​three​ ​offices.

Staff​ dropped​ ​from​ ​300​ ​to​ ​100 when the company eliminated its bureaus.​ ​Even​ ​so, Jones​ ​said,​ ​part of the​ ​challenge​ ​became,​ ​“how​ ​are​ ​we going​ ​to​ ​put​ ​all​ ​of​ ​these​ ​folks​ ​in​ ​one​ ​place?”

The​ ​Dallas​ ​Morning​ ​News​ ​is​ ​condensing​ ​its​ ​400,000 square-foot​ ​operation​ ​into​ ​a​ ​more​ ​efficient​ ​layout​ ​of 100,000​ ​square​ ​feet​ ​that​ ​favors​ ​multipurpose,​ ​communal space​ ​over​ ​private offices. The newsroom is now spread ​across​ ​three floors​. The new one in another historic building will be on two floors, with an ​open​ ​layout​ ​and​ ​a​ ​mezzanine​.

“We’re​ ​going​ ​from​ ​an​ ​organization​ ​that​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​offices​ ​to​ ​one that​ ​has​ ​three​ ​offices,”​ Tomlin ​said.​

Without the need for so much square footage devoted to printing presses, ​a cable​ ​news​ ​network​ ​and​ ​all those​ ​offices, the new space will feature a more efficient digital newsroom​ ​with​ ​an​ ​integrated​ ​TV​ ​studio, one​ ​“built with​ ​intention​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​crammed​ ​into​ ​a​ ​corner.”

Bring​ ​in​ ​natural​ ​light

It’s ​no​ ​surprise​ ​that​ ​a​ ​window​ ​view​ ​improves employee​ ​satisfaction. But ​​research​​ by architectural firm RDG​ ​Planning​ & ​Design notes that even​ ​employees​ ​who​ ​did not have their own​ ​window​s felt ​higher​ job ​satisfaction​ ​and​ ​perceived they were ​closer​ ​to​ ​windows​ when natural light diffused throughout the space.

As The Kansas City Star rethinks their newsroom design, “we​ ​want​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​no​ ​one​ ​‘owns’​ ​the​ ​windows,”​ ​said Greg​ ​Branson,​ ​an assistant​ ​managing​ ​editor​ ​who​ ​leads​ ​presentation​ ​and​ ​innovation.

The​ ​Washington​ ​Post​ ​put​ ​a​ ​premium​ ​on​ ​natural​ ​light​ ​and​ ​found​ ​it​ ​to​ ​be​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​satisfying features​ ​of​ ​its​ ​new​ ​location.​ ​The​ ​open​ ​layout​ ​and​ ​banks​ ​of windows​ ​allow​ ​sunlight​ ​to​ ​filter​ ​through​ ​glass-walled walkways​ ​into​ ​the​ ​newsroom’s​ ​central​ ​hub.

“Most​ ​people​ ​were​ ​gobsmacked​ ​by​ ​how​ ​light​ ​and​ ​bright everything​ ​was,”​ ​Grant​ ​said.

The Washington Post’s old newsroom had little light and was a labyrinth of desks that inhibited collaboration. Washington​ ​Post​ ​Deputy​ Managing​ Editor​ ​Tracy​ ​Grant​ said the new space was designed to facilitate quick communication and collaboration during breaking news — and to “get rid of anything that got in the way of good journalism.” (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

Spanning two stories, the central editing hub is the nerve center of The Washington Post. Designed for visibility and accessibility, the bright, open space capitalizes on natural light and enables clear views into the hub from glass-walled walkways on the upper floor. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

Boost morale

Some news outlets saw that their employees, weighed down by rounds of buyouts, needed a different type of light.

“We’re​ ​a​ ​company​ ​in​ ​a​ ​financially​ ​distressed​ ​industry trying​ ​to​ ​find​ ​some​ ​oxygen,”​ ​said​ ​Shribman​ ​of​ ​the Pittsburgh​ ​Post-Gazette. For him, more light in a new, open space conveyed optimism and a way to face the future.

All​ ​editors​ ​interviewed​ ​for​ ​this​ ​study​ ​expressed​ ​concern​ ​for employee​ ​morale.​ ​They​ ​recognize​ ​the​ ​toll​ ​that​ ​economic uncertainty​ ​and​ ​continuing ​technological​ ​change​ ​have​ ​taken on​ ​​employees.​ ​(This​ ​concern​ ​reflects​ ​the​ ​sort​ ​of empathy​ ​evangelized​ ​by​ proponents of human-centered design​,​ ​discussed​ ​in​ ​“Engaging​ ​staff:​ ​User experience​ ​studies​ ​are​ ​not​ ​just​ ​for​ ​audience​ ​behavior.”)

​Michael​ ​Hughes is ​senior​ ​manager​ ​of media​ ​design​ ​and​ ​production​ ​for​ ​Calkins​ ​Digital​ ​Solutions, which​ ​publishes​ ​the​ ​Bucks​ ​County​ ​Courier​ ​Times, Burlington​ ​County​ ​Times​ ​and​ ​The​ ​Intelligencer​ ​in Pennsylvania and was recently purchased by Gatehouse Media. For​ ​the​ ​company’s​ ​recent​ ​remodel at the Courier Times’ building,​ Hughes studied​ which paint​ ​schemes​ ​would ​create​ ​a welcoming​ ​environment.

Michael​ ​Hughes, ​senior​ ​manager​ ​of media​ ​design​ ​and​ ​production​ ​for​ ​Calkins​ ​Digital​ ​Solutions, renovated the newsroom of the Bucks County Courier Times in stages. This photo, taken while the renovation was underway, shows the color scheme, which transitions from shades of blue to green. (Photo courtesy of Jacki Gray and Michael Hughes)

“If​ ​I’m​ ​going​ ​to​ ​do​ ​things​ ​that​ ​affect​ ​people’s​ ​lives,​ ​I wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​sure​ ​I​ ​was​ ​doing​ ​the​ ​right​ ​thing,”​ ​Hughes​ ​said. He​ ​chose​ ​shades​ ​of​ ​blue​ ​and​ ​green​ ​for​ ​the company’s production​ ​and​ ​newsroom​ ​spaces.​ ​The company ​also​ ​devoted​ ​a​ ​25-foot​ ​wall​ ​to​ ​an​ ​inspirational​ ​message.

The inspirational wall decal and carefully selected wall colors help make the space welcoming and comfortable for staff. Wall decals like this are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and can be found on Etsy from a variety of vendors. (Photos courtesy of Jacki Gray and Michael Hughes)

Clean house

“​The​ ​Life-Changing​ ​Magic​ ​of​ ​Tidying​ ​Up​,”​ ​by​ ​Marie Kondo,​ ​perhaps​ ​best​ ​represents​ ​the​ ​current​ ​cult​ ​of minimalism​ ​sweeping​ ​homes​ ​—​ ​and​ ​offices​ ​— around​ ​the globe. At​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of​ ​this philosophy ​is​ ​an​ ​almost​ ​spiritual​ ​letting-go​ ​of​ ​the​ ​past.

“The​ ​space​ ​in​ ​which​ ​we​ ​live​ ​should​ ​be​ ​for​ ​the​ ​person​ ​we are​ ​becoming​ ​now,​ ​not​ ​for​ ​the​ ​person​ ​we​ ​were​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past,” writes​ ​Kondo.

Substitute​ ​“newsroom”​ ​for​ ​“person,”​ ​and​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a mandate:​ ​Tidy​ ​up​ ​to​ ​make​ ​way​ ​for​ ​future​ ways of doing journalism.

“What​ ​an​ ​amazing​ ​metaphor​ ​for​ ​moving​ ​from​ ​print​ ​to digital,”​ ​said Jones, who guided The Virginian-Pilot through that transition.​ ​“Every​ ​single​ ​print​ ​record​ ​for​ ​which there​ ​was​ ​a​ ​digital​ ​copy​ ​was​ ​shredded.” In a budget-conscious quest for clean lines and minimalism, Jones​ ​decided at the outset, “We’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​paint,​ ​and​ ​we’re going​ ​to​ ​declutter.”

Rachel​ ​Jones,​ ​news​ ​operations​ ​leader​ ​for​ ​The Virginian-Pilot​, aimed for a minimalist look when she oversaw its newsroom renovation. She chose a crisp, white color for portions of the new space. Something as simple as photographs throughout, mounted in black frames with gallery-style white matting, help create a unified look. (Photo by The’ N. pham)

Before the renovation, ​the​ ​editor’s​ ​office​ ​was​ ​walled​ ​in​ ​by​ ​cabinets.​ ​They ​were​ ​the​ ​first​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​had​ ​to​ ​go.

The Virginian-Pilot’s old photo department was marked by dated furniture, extra file cabinets and remnants of the old color scheme. This area was converted to a storage room as the photo team moved closer to the rest of the staff. (Photo by The’ N. pham)

“But​ ​it’s​ ​hard,”​ ​she​ ​conceded.​ ​“People​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​part with​ ​their​ ​stuff.”​ ​At​ ​first,​ ​Jones​ ​said,​ she​ ​started​ ​with​ ​an email​ ​about​ ​decluttering,​ ​but​ ​she soon​ ​realized​ ​she​ had ​to be ​more​ ​assertive.

“I​ ​brought​ ​in​ ​huge​ ​Dumpsters​,” she said, “​and​ ​people​ ​realized,​ ​‘Oh, they’re​ ​serious.’”​ ​She​ ​set​ ​deadlines​ ​and​ told ​the staff ​everything​ that wasn’t ​sorted​ ​by​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​date would​ ​go​ ​into​ ​the​ ​bins.

Each employee​ ​at​ ​The​ ​Washington​ ​Post​ ​was​ ​given​ ​two​ ​orange crates.​ ​What​ ​didn’t​ ​fit​ ​had​ ​to​ ​be​ ​shredded,​ ​thrown​ ​away​ ​or taken​ ​home​ ​by​ ​moving​ ​day.

Staff at The Washington Post were guided through a year of decluttering. Posters were updated weekly to count down to moving day, suggesting “three things you can do this week” to prepare. “As the numbers got smaller, the urgency got higher,” said the Post’s Tracy Grant. People had to decide what to scan, shred, throw away or take home. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

As​ ​a​ ​concession​ ​to​ ​the​ ​distress​ ​of​ ​letting​ ​go,​ ​The Virginian-Pilot​ ​allotted​ ​one​ ​storage​ ​room​ ​with​ ​a​ ​limited number​ ​of​ ​cabinets​ ​where​ ​people​ ​could​ ​store​ ​items​ ​they just​ ​couldn’t​ ​bring​ ​themselves​ ​to​ ​discard.

“Not​ ​one​ ​person​ ​has​ ​gone​ ​back​ ​and​ ​looked​ ​at​ ​their​ ​stuff​ ​in the​ ​storage​ ​room,”​ ​Jones​ ​said​ ​with​ ​a​ ​laugh.

The final, clutter-free resting place for The Virginian-Pilot’s few remaining print files. (Photo by The’ N. pham)

Promote collaboration

At the Center for Investigative Reporting, “the​ ​model​ ​for​ ​our​ ​journalism​ ​is​ ​based​ ​on collaboration,”​ ​said​ Christa Scharfenberg,​ ​managing​ ​director​ ​and​ ​head​ ​of​ ​studio​.​​ ​“Half​ ​of​ ​our​ ​content is​ ​created​ ​by​ ​us;​ ​the​ ​other​ ​half​ ​is​ ​from​ ​newsrooms across​ ​the​ ​country,​ ​so​ ​communal​ ​space​ ​is​ ​key​ ​to​ ​getting the​ ​job​ ​done.”

The nonprofit’s ​new​ ​location,​ ​a repurposed​ ​pipe​ ​factory,​ ​has​ ​an​ ​open​ ​newsroom​ ​the​ ​size​ ​of a​ ​football​ ​field.​ ​That’s​ ​a​ ​stark​ ​contrast​ ​to​ ​its​ ​prior​ ​home​ ​in downtown​ ​Berkeley,​ ​where​ ​staff​ ​was​ ​scattered​ ​across​ ​three floors​ ​and​ ​“squirreled​ ​away​ ​in​ ​a​ ​little​ ​room​ ​in​ ​the basement.”

The​ ​new​ ​space​ ​better​ ​supports​ the organization’s ​collegial culture.​ ​“We​ ​have​ ​a​ ​communal​ ​kitchen​ ​space​ ​in​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​of​ ​our newsroom​; we​ ​call​ ​it​ ​Cozy​ ​Town,”​ ​​Scharfenberg ​said. ​Cozy​ ​Town​ serves as an all-purpose space to hang out, work in teams, and to for informal ​food and coffee clubs to meet.​ ​

Architects suggest these sorts of communal spaces can bring together people who don’t work on the same team, creating new connections and sparking informal collaborations.

The Center for Investigative Reporting’s communal space, nicknamed “Cozy Town,” is used for social gatherings, food clubs, working lunches and breakout meetings. (Photo by Rachel de Leon)

Another simple feature encouraging collaboration is that the newsroom​ radiates around​ ​the​ ​hangout​ ​space​ and ​is​ ​organized into sections instead of long rows. Scharfenberg said this layout enables people to have quick conversations with other teams nearby.

That’s a benefit of the Post’s decision to organize its newsroom around the editing hub.

“In​ ​the​ ​old​ ​building,​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​hub​ was​ ​a​ ​tortuous process.​ ​Now​ ​moving​ ​between​ ​[floors] seven​ ​and​ ​eight​ ​is seamless,”​ ​Grant​ ​said.​ ​“Everyone​ ​has​ ​equal​ ​access … you​ ​can​ ​yell​ ​down​ ​to​ ​the​ ​hub.”

At​ ​Treasure​ ​Coast​ ​News,​ ​a​ ​simple​ ​change​ ​three​ ​years​ ​ago created​ ​communal​ ​space​ ​at​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of​ ​the​ ​newsroom​ ​and signaled​ ​the​ ​organization’s​ ​goal​ ​to​ ​collaborate.​ ​Editorial meetings​ ​once​ ​held​ ​in​ ​a​ ​conference​ ​room​ ​now​ ​occur​ ​at​ ​a large​ ​table​ ​in​ ​the​ ​center​ ​of​ ​the​ ​open​ ​newsroom.

“No​ ​walls,”​ ​said​ ​Adam​ ​Neal,​ ​managing​ ​editor​ ​of Treasure​ ​Coast​ ​News and its website, TCPalm.​ ​“Now​ ​we​ ​hold​ ​all of​ ​our​ ​meetings​ ​right​ ​at​ ​that​ ​table,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​a​ ​reporter​ ​hears​ ​us talking​ ​about​ ​a​ ​story,​ ​they​ ​speak​ ​up​ ​and​ ​join​ ​in.”

Moving editorial meetings out of a conference room and into the center of Treasure Coast News’ newsroom invites staff involvement when planning stories. “When we talk about a story in the middle of the newsroom, instead of a direct supervisor with a reporter, now you have a group of five to six people who can give feedback,” said Managing Editor Adam Neal. Staff have an open invitation to attend any meeting in this space. (Photo by Leah Voss)

Foster a culture of innovation

At​ ​Quartz,​ one of ​the​ ​goals​ ​was​ ​to​ ​represent​ ​the​ ​news organization’s​ ​culture​ of experimentation ​in​ ​a​ ​physical​ ​space​ ​—​ ​to​ ​create something​ ​“quartzy.”​ ​The newsroom’s ​display of ​this​ ​is​ ​more​ ​lo-fi than​ ​high​-​tech.​ ​Rather​ ​than​ ​wallpapering​ ​the​ newsroom ​with flashing​ ​screens,​ ​Quartz conveys​ ​its​ ​brand​ ​of innovation​ ​through​ ​human-centered​ ​space.

Modest​ ​wooden​ ​structures​ ​delineate​ ​creative​ ​spaces​ ​such​ ​as the​ ​workshop,​ ​which feels like a playroom​ for grownups and ​features​ ​a ​mix​ ​of​ maker ​tools​ ​and​ ​toys.​ ​A secret​ ​love​ ​of​ ​print​ ​manifests​ ​in​ ​a​ ​library​ ​featuring actual​ ​books.​ ​These​ ​areas​ ​express,​ ​without​ ​irony,​ ​the authentic​ ​culture​ ​of​ ​playful​ ​experimentation​ ​driving​ ​this young,​ ​digitally​ ​native​ ​publication.

Resident tinkerer, coding coach and bot builder Sam Williams spends time in the Workshop, a space that reflects Quartz’s unique culture. Williams’ side projects — such as a sensor that indicates when the office dishwasher is done or the coffee bot that alerts staff via Slack when a fresh cup of coffee is ready — help Quartz explore applications for new technologies. (Photo by Mark Craemer)

To balance between solo and collaborative workspaces, every organization in this survey adopted its own version of “huddle” spaces. In the Center for Investigative Reporting’s sprawling newsroom, they took the form of closet-sized rooms.

At the Post, dozens of huddle spaces, designed for two to four people, are scattered throughout the newsroom. They’re decorated with historic newspaper ​headlines.​

The Washington Post’s new space incorporates a number of small “huddle spaces” designed for impromptu collaboration. Less formal than a conference room, each huddle area has a unique aesthetic and creative furnishings to inspire innovative thinking. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

Elements of the Post’s history were artfully incorporated into the new decor. In 1935, publisher Eugene​ ​Myers​ ​put forth seven guiding principles​ ​for​ ​the​ ​conduct​ ​of​ ​journalism​ at the Post. Now the first thing you see when you step off the elevator on the seventh floor is this assemblage of metal type, evocative of a bygone era. “We​ ​had​ ​a​ ​discussion​ ​about​ ​updating​ ​the​ ​language,​ ​but​ ​decided to​ ​keep​ ​it​ ​as​ ​originally​ ​uttered,”​ ​said​ ​the Post’s Tracy Grant. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

​“There​ ​was​ ​a deliberate​ ​attempt​ ​to​ ​say,​ ​‘Here​ ​is​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​are​ ​and will​ ​be​ ​in​ ​the​ ​next​ ​century,​ ​and​ ​here​ ​is​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​were before,’” Grant said.

Diverse design elements celebrate The Washington Post’s history and achievements, such as this elegant display of its Pulitzer Prizes. (Photo by Garrett Rowland)

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