Survey Questions and Timeline

Here are the questions asked in the survey:

Knight-Mozilla fellow Sandhya wants to hear about how your newsroom is dealing with institutional knowledge that is lost when a person leaves your newsroom. This information will be used to think further about how we can make these processes more efficient. You can either answer these questions about your current newsroom or a prior newsroom. Thanks for your help in advance!

  1. Is the newsroom your...

    • prior
    • current job?
  2. What is the name of this newsroom?

  3. Does your newsroom have a policy in place that requires or encourages reporters, editors, developers and producers to document their work before leaving?

    If yes, here are the questions that follow:

    1. What is your newsroom policy for off-boarding or on-boarding?

    2. In terms of the policy: Is documentation done monthly, weekly, or daily or is it mostly done on a project-by-project basis?

      • monthly
      • weekly
      • daily
      • project by project basis
  4. What about newsroom sources? Do you have a policy on what a reporter can take with them?

  5. Now, I was mostly thinking of these questions in reference to people who voluntarily leave, but what about those who are fired? Are there any policies in place for retention of their notes? What about the passwords and logins that they take when they leave?

  6. On-boarding: What about when a new person begins in the newsroom: are there documents that they receive (other than from HR)?

    If no, here are the questions that follow:

    1. If you don't have a policy in place, I'd still like to hear from you.

    2. What would you ideally like to see included in this policy?

  7. Anything else you'd like to share that I haven't covered?

  8. Can I contact you for further questions?

  9. Your information:




Overview of the Survey Process and Timeline

I sent out the survey on April 22, 2016. I closed the survey on September 12, 2016. I heard from 221 newsrooms and 247 unique individuals. A total of 289 people filled out the survey. I conducted 101 interviews with individuals who filled out the survey. Thirty of them were over Skype or over the phone. The other 71 were email.

At the beginning of the survey, I sent it to two of the Slack groups that I'm a part of: Journalists of Color & News Nerdery and then I sent emails to my mentors and friends to have them pass the survey along. I also sent it directly to about 20 newsrooms and then posted it several times on Twitter.

In July, I talked to Elite Truong from Poynter about the research I was doing and she wrote up a piece on my initial findings.

More details on the survey results are in Chapter three

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