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Newsroom Planning
5 minutes read
Introducing T-Shirt Sizes for Newsroom Standardization

In the fast-paced environment of newsrooms, effective communication and efficient workflow are crucial for delivering timely and impactful content.  

A novel idea gaining traction that helps with more effective communication is the incorporation of "T-Shirt Sizes" in newsroom standardization.  

Helsingin Sanomat, a notable newspaper based in Finland, has successfully implemented this system, known as the SML Concept. Their adoption of T-Shirt Sizes led to a nomination for the INMA award for best use of data to drive a business result.  

However, despite its success in the Finnish market, this concept is not yet widely recognized beyond the German-speaking market.  

This article delves into the origins, advantages, and application of T-Shirt Sizes in newsroom standardization, offering insight into this innovative approach to content creation. 

What are T-Shirt Sizes in Newsroom Standardization? 

T-Shirt Sizes in newsroom standardization refer to a standardized system of categorizing articles based on their length and importance. Similar to how clothing sizes range from small to large, articles are assigned sizes such as S, M, or L, depending on their word count and relevance.  

Origins and Purpose of T-Shirt Sizes 

The introduction of T-Shirt Sizes in newsroom standardization aims to simplify the editorial process and enhance clarity in communication. It was developed as a response to the challenges faced by newsrooms in managing the length and content of articles.  

With limited space in print publications and the need to automate content creation in the digital era, a standardized system was required to ensure articles fit seamlessly into predefined templates and slots. 

Traditionally, newsrooms relied on creating templates with predefined slots for articles. However, this approach often led to the need for extensive editing and cutting down of articles to fit the allocated space. 

The introduction of T-Shirt Sizes offers a solution by restricting freelancers to deliver articles of specific lengths, eliminating the need for extensive editing and ensuring articles fit neatly within the predefined slots. 

Implementing T-Shirt Sizes in Newsrooms 

1. Define your T-Shirt sizes:  When selecting the appropriate T-Shirt sizes for different article types, consider the desired level of detail for each category. For example, brief updates might align with S, in-depth features with M, investigative pieces with L, and long-form journalism with XL. Additionally, analyze the performance of different article lengths to identify optimal sizes. Some newsrooms have achieved success with a combination of short and long pieces. In such cases, consider defining relatively short S and M sizes, while leaving a significant gap before introducing the longer L and XL sizes. 

2. Develop guidelines for each size: This should include the expected word count, and the level of detail required. 

3. Communicate the guidelines to your team: Make sure that editors, journalists, and freelancers understand the different T-Shirt sizes and how to use them. 

4. Track and analyze your progress: Track your team's usage of T-Shirt sizes and pinpoint opportunities for optimization. This may involve examining the distribution of article lengths and conducting a comprehensive analysis of how different sizes influence reader conversion to subscribers. 

 Desk-Net's T-Shirt Sizes Feature  

Desk-Net's T-shirt sizes feature allows newsrooms to categorize articles based on their length and importance. This can help to improve communication and efficiency within the newsroom, as well as ensure that articles are aligned with the needs of readers. 

To set T-shirt sizes for articles, newsrooms can create custom sizes and define the expected word count and level of detail for each size. Once sizes have been created, editors can assign sizes to articles when they are created or assigned to journalists. 

Journalists can then see the assigned T-shirt size for an article and use this information to guide their writing. For example, a journalist writing an article with an "L" T-shirt size knows that they should produce an in-depth piece with a high level of detail.   

If you are interested in learning more about how to use Desk-Net's T-shirt sizes feature, please visit our support page. 

Ready to see how Desk-Net can improve your team's workflow? Contact our sales team today. Our experts will guide you through the platform's features and show you how Desk-Net can streamline your editorial planning and collaboration processes.