Virtual Organization to Virtual Product: Structural Challenges to Online Newspapers

David W. Maguire
InSITE 2002  •  Volume 2  •  2002
This paper is about the online newspaper industry and the organisational changes that have been necessitated by economic downturn and natural evolution. It explains how online newspapers were created as virtual organisations (VO) by publishers to protect valuable franchises and in the early stages of the technology boom were replicas of their traditional newspaper counterparts. It describes two VO structures that have applied during the online newspaper life cycle and the changes as economic pressures lead to de-structuring. This has resulted in convergence of publishing cultures with online and traditional disciplines working in a multi-skilling environment on two different products with similar content delivered through physical and electronic means. A model of the new working entity is provided. The paper concludes by raising cultural organisational issues relevant to a clash of journalistic disciplines.
virtual organisation, traditional newspapers, online publishing, media convergence, journalistic culture
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