December 27, 2007

What every good journalist needs to do, but won't

The folks who need to read Howard Owens' survival tips most probably don't know how to find his blog. But I really like his suggestions. Of course, Howard put the suggestions in business language, calling them objectives for today's non-wired journalists. (Even offers a prize, so tell your non-wired friends.)

I like this approach as it is faster then my 'educate gently' philosophy. Or is it called teachable moment? Either way, it takes a lot longer to encourage folks to use Yahoo alerts and Google search announcements if you just show them when they have an immediate need, or how to use Twitter when they want to follow Black Friday sales ,or use Bloglines or Google Reader to track experts for a developing story or expertise.

I know I have encouraged at least three top editors to get Myspace pages, have at least one editor with a FaceBook account, and another spending his vacation creating his very first web page.

Of course, a CEO's challenge to have newspaper folks befriend him seemed to inspire a rash of friending but I have backed off on that. (Who would believe that two more people on FaceBook would have the same name, and some didn't like the requests from strangers.) It has been fun to watch the pokings, pages, and other networking spread through FaceBook.

But if you toss in $$ like Owens or even follow his suggestion to make them steps your Manage By Objectives in 2008, I can see where progress would come along faster.

Mindy Adam's likes most of Howard Owens's recommendations:
Journalists everywhere need to quit whining and go into action. Howard Owens has issued a challenge for all your non-networked friends — you know, the ones who never read any blogs except Romenesko or Shop Talk. The ones who don't know how to work their digital cameras — or worse, don't even own one. Yeah, you know who these people are. They're all over your newsroom.

She suggests we "Print it out for them if you have to!" and tells us why:
  • They could save your friend's career.
  • They could open new doors.
  • They could make your friends love
    journalism again, the way they used to.

She's not crazy about "messing around with Facebook andMySpace." (My suggestion is she needs to use them more and she'll understand why journalists need to know their way around.)

But Adams does say she hopes that everyone gets into blogs and RSS feeds, "essential components of my daily work."
"I am continually shocked when I meet journalists who say they don't readblogs. It's inconceivable."

Read the rest of her reasons over on her blog.

Unfortunatley, I think Owens and Adams are preaching to the converted. It will be hard to get some folks ever interested.

Need more convincing. Amy Grahan wraps everything nicely online. Her biggest gripe is that the challenge should be available to those not working for news organizations because:
"Personally, I don't see the point of that, since so many of us are independent -- and more will become independent (by choice or not) as the traditional news business continues to erode. We may end up working alone, or in co-ops, or for whatever replaces Google, who knows? I think an important part of this process is envisioning the role of journalism and journalists not only separately from news organizations but in developing a contingency plan for continuing journalism in an increasingly likely future where news orgs have largely ceased to exist."

I also like the link to Digital Native 'cause that's a whole another post someday.

(PS: Over on at least one Michigan newspaper is quite honest in a description for a multimedia specialist, reminding you that the person will work with techies to non-believers.)


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