Digital Media Toolbox
Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare or the hundreds of other social media sites online, new technologies are changing the way we work as journalists. For a lot of us this means more work and more tasks being crammed into a short amount of time.
Editor’s Note: This column was adopted from the SPJ Digital Media Committee’s strategic report, “Will SPJ Remain Relevant in the Digital Age?” Download the report. America’s oldest and largest journalism organization should become the news industry’s premier source of information on the latest technology, newsgathering approaches and business models.
I probably would have spit coffee on my microphone if you told me in 2008 that I’d soon go from a TV news reporter to a new media journalist running a 3,000-member social networking site. It all began in summer 2009, after a Dallas, Texas, Fox affiliate and I parted ways amid the industry turmoil.
The pocket video camera is one of the best new tools for journalists who are dipping their toes into the waters of digital reporting. Pocket video cameras are relatively inexpensive (Flip camera $199; Kodak Zi8 $129.95; iPhone $199 with service plan; BlackBerry $129.99 with service plan), easy to operate and extremely easy to carry around on and off assignment.
Lisa Parker can still feel her old dread when she remembers listening to career coaches chattering about résumés inside the “transition assistance room” of an Army base in 2006. The class was supposed to help the former first sergeant move into civilian life after a 21-year, full-time career in aviation for the Florida Army National Guard.
For some of us it takes quite a leap to sign up for accounts on social media sites like Twitter; to others it’s just a part of the job. No matter which side you’re on, the true test comes after creating an account.
Most major digital SLR cameras offer high-definition video capture. Popular among them are the Canon 5D Mark II/7D and the Nikon D300s/D3s. Despite the technological leap this change represents for camera manufacturers, I have found many news photographers are still poised, knees quaking, on the side of the pool, afraid to jump right into news videography.
You’ve pulled a 14-hour shift on the desk. You’re dog-tired. But as you walk out of the newspaper office, you know that thousands of people will pick up the paper from their lawns tomorrow morning and see your story. Fast-forward to our brave new online world.