chapter  2
20 Pages

Newspapers as Organizations

Of the many voices that have addressed the history, operation, effects, or all three of American newspapers, most have spoken about them as modern organizations. That is, they focus on contemporary newspapers as pyramidal, hierarchical systems with different functional units, vertical (mostly downward) communication, and management that is predominantly task-focused rather than employee-centered. This chapter offers a different lens through which to view newspapers as organizations by suggesting the following:

● Newspapers, like a number of other industries, began as pre-modern entities, grew into more complex structures with multiple functional units, and some are now changing into organizations with post-modern components. That is, they are developing flexible, adaptable structures, with diffused, or fuzzy boundaries, focusing on the need for rapid change using multiple new technologies, and intrinsic as well as extrinsic rewards for organizational members. In a post-modern setting, environmental changes affect internal systems, on an ongoing basis, and the key to their survival is flexibility and adaptability.