Being a gadget freak isn’t a requirement for being a journalist, but these days it helps to have some familiarity with the plethora of new stuff constantly being pushed into the consumer pipeline. While journalists learn to embrace new tech as part of their jobs, news audiences have also benefitted from the march of progress.
I was recently interviewed by a college student doing research on the “censorship” of comments by news organizations. From the idealistic tone of her inquiry, she revealed that she thought newsrooms hiring a staffer just to manage comments was an outrageous affront to the First Amendment.
I was appalled recently to hear a city editor from one of the top daily newspapers in the country tell a roomful of journalism students that they shouldn’t worry about learning multimedia or any digital skills, and that journalism to him was all about one thing: writing.
I’ve heard it for years from mid-career journalists, though not so much from the j-school students I work with today: “How am I supposed to keep up with all this new stuff?” That was when now-commonplace concepts such as blogging, social media and SEO were bewilderingly new to the established news media.
If you haven’t seen The New York Times’ amazing online package from Dec. 20 titled “Snow Fall,” you should. The article is about a devastating avalanche in February 2012 at the Tunnel Creek section of Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.
Steve Buttry — who has the impressive if murky title of “digital transformation editor” for Digital First Media, which operates the combined properties of the Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group — spends a lot of his time speaking to full-time journalists and students.
It’s the middle of summer break, and although most college students are scattered across the country, news unfortunately doesn’t stop for the ebb and flow of the academic calendar. In today’s environment, news is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year narrative. TV stations and daily newspapers have grasped that fact, and many are evolving their newsrooms strategies to “digital first” initiatives.
It seems ridiculously passé to tell journalists in 2012 that they should be blogging. That wasn’t the case just a few years ago, when I was told by one metro daily’s management that reporters absolutely would not be allowed to blog for the paper’s website.