No Slack in the Newsroom

Slack

adjective

Having or showing laziness or negligence.
“slack accounting procedures”
Synonyms: lax, negligent, neglectful, remiss, careless, slapdash, slipshod, lackadaisical, lazy, inefficient, incompetent, inattentive, offhand, casual, disorderly, disorganized.

It is unacceptable in newsrooms. But that’s not the Slack I’m talking about.

Slack is the shiny new collaboration tool for teams. It works beautifully for new newsrooms.  And Slack is changing newsrooms.

At the technology team in ET, we’ve started using the real time messaging tool for a little over 2 months now. When I was at NextBigWhat, we used it for a very long time.

The beauty of Slack is that it puts everything in one place. That is, you can have all your team members in a chatroom. You could have different channels to discuss different things. For instance, you could separate out editorial discussions from say design discussions or marketing discussions using channels.

Search: The whole thing is searchable, so you can retrieve information quickly. It integrates with a variety of useful apps like Twitter, Google Drive and Asana.

Mobile: Slack also has great mobile apps. However, they seem to be slower to load. That makes it a second choice to Whatsapp groups.  It doesn’t have a Windows or a Blackberry app.

Pricing: For smaller teams, the free version works great. The Standard, Plus and Enterprise tiers cost $6.67, $12.50 and $ 49-99 per user per month.

From what I’ve observed, it works better for online distributed teams. Offline teams might have to get used to it a little more until it becomes a habit.

Some newsroom users have expressed worries about discussing highly sensitive matters on the service because many people can see it and it also leaves a trail. But then we all know that email and instant messaging aren’t any better on that front. If its really sensitive, its best to talk face to face.

Also read: Now You Can IM Securely With Sources, Even If You Are A Tech Challenged Journo

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