[Santa Fe, NM] In more than 20 years of visits to newsrooms around the world, I’ve seen it all, in terms of work environments – but the typical newsroom is the one you see in the movies, desks stacked with papers, perhaps a hodge-podge of cubicles, offices and workflow adapted with a bit of inelegance as the organization has changed through the years. (Photo department? Why are they always one floor up, behind the storage room, near the morgue …)
So it’s always refreshing when I walk into a newsroom that instantly seems well planned, inviting, and accessible to both the staff and the public. Such was the case when I entered The New Mexican during a recent week of work.
The newsroom is all the more impressive for being a former printing facility. Redesigned with some expense and considerable imagination by owner Robin Martin and newsroom leaders including Rob Dean and Mike Cosgrove, the place boasts clean and inspiring architectural lines, wonderfully filtered light throughout the day (and pleasing artificial light at night), open access between two floors via well planned staircases, and open meeting space, which during my visit seemed to facilitate a productive discussion of the day’s unfolding news.
In terms of presenting the company’s best face to the public, the building does this in spades. Before entering, one is presented with racks featuring a wide array of products, including daily and weekend editions, and a variety of inviting, slick niche magazines, for free or for purchase. Through the front door one is greeted by a smiling receptionist. (Who knew such existed anymore! I mean, a human being representing the paper, not a scowling security guard demanding your ID badge or scan card.) A visitor instantly knows where to find advertising, circulation, accounting. Public access computer stations are easy to find and use, to search the paper’s archives or read the daily edition online; the paper’s rich history is boasted via public displays that have a museum-like quality. Throughout the building, a fine art collection adorns the walls.
In a community where art and design are important, a newspaper should reflect that. The New Mexican has maintained and strengthened its visibility in Santa Fe’s charming, historic downtown. Newsrooms large and small could find a lot to admire in how they have designed, and redesigned, their workspace.