Journalism 2.0
How to survive and thrive in the digital age

This blog is a companion to the book I have written. It will teach current (and future) journalists the skills they need to do better journalism with the help of digital technology. More information about the book.

 

What about smart phones for reporters?

I hadn’t originally planned to write about smart phones as a tool for reporters in the book, thinking it was a tad too advanced for traditional journalists who are just beginning to take on digital recorders. But Amy Gahran’s post on Poynter’s site today has me reconsidering. She reports being amazed at a recent journalism conference with the number of reporters using smart phones:

“I noticed an amazing number of longtime reporters whipping out various brands of smart phones and using them for diverse tasks: taking notes, performing online searches, Web surfing, recording contact information, noting events on calendars, messaging with editors, recording audio and video, taking pictures, checking e-mail and feeds, and more. Occasionally, they even used them to place phone calls.”

So here’s my hunch: any reporter already using a smart phone is thriving in the digital age and doesn’t need a how-to book to learn how to survive. (Which is great.) I actually think it’s unfortunate that, with 2007 almost upon us, there is still a need for a basic introduction to online and digital skills like the project I’m working on. But that’s the sense I got after speaking at a recent conference of newspaper editors and publishers, many of whom caught up with me later to ask when the book would be available because they wanted it in their newsroom.

What do you think? Should the book include information on how to incorporate smart phone technologies into daily journalism tasks? Or should we assume that anyone smart enough to have a smart phone has already figured it out themselves?

Posted by MarkBriggs on Thursday, December 21, 2006
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No. 1 newspaper industry story is no surprise

Editor and Publisher columnist Joe Strupp gives his top 10 list of newspaper stories in 2006. To no one’s surprise (I hope), the growth of the Web was ranked No. 1.

While I agree the Web is the top story, I disagree with his assessment: “The Web comes of age.” We are at the beginning of the evolution, in my opinion, not at the end as a coming of age would suggest.

I think you can pencil in the growth of online for the No. 1 newspaper story again in 2007, 2008 and beyond.

Posted by MarkBriggs on Thursday, December 21, 2006
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Will Time further the cause, or pollute the water?

Time’s decision to name “You” as its Person of the Year was met with skepticism in my newsroom. It was called a “cop out” by one editor. Personally, I think it’s a bit weird, not quite fitting the criteria (I’m pretty sure the collective population does more than one person every year), but if it validates user generated content online for some traditional journalists who have yet to come to the party, all the better.

Of course, as others are warning, it could mean the beginning of the bubble burst. NPR has a nice acceptance speech, too, in case you’re still working on yours.

What do you think? Does Time’s selection legitimize Web 2.0 and the era of participation for traditional newsies?

Posted by MarkBriggs on Tuesday, December 19, 2006
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Good tips on blogging

The American Journalism Review takes a deep look at newspapers and blogging in its most recent issue. It’s a good roundup of the current state of newspaper blogging and the ethical challenges it presents.

It’s the only mention we get, but what the hell, right?

The highlight, for practical purposes, are the blogging suggestions from Dallas Morning News Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, who led her staff in launching the nation’s first editorial page blog. They are:

1. Be brief and informal. Breezy, conversational tone is good. Two hundred words is too long. Go for the quick hit, light touch, witty aside. Attitude required.

2. Don’t be too proud to blog.

3. Respond to previous blog postings. This is about conversation, after all. It’s the back and forth that makes a blog engaging.

4. Vary your topics. Don’t be a wonk.

5. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read in the paper.

6. Use hyperlinks.

7. Incorporate interesting, provocative reader e-mail. The best blogs are two-way streets.

8. Be quick to correct yourself.

9. Don’t feel obligated to answer all blog-generated e-mail.

10. Don’t over edit; but designate a blog boss.

Posted by MarkBriggs on Tuesday, December 05, 2006
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Revolution in Fort Meyers

The future is now at the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla. They’ve trained 14 mobile journalists with blogging, audio and video skills and are aiming to train another 30. The Washington Post takes a look here.

While the digital skills training makes obvious sense, three hours of training from the marketing department is a new idea and bound to ruffle some feathers. Still, it makes sense that employees who spend their entire workday dealing with the public be armed with all the appropriate knowledge about the company and it’s products. It’s not like they’re asking them to write subscription orders or sell ads (yet).

Posted by MarkBriggs on Monday, December 04, 2006
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J-Learning is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. J-LabTM is an incubator for innovative, participatory news experiments and is a center of American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C.
J-Learning was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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