April 12, 2008

Is it time for Rent a Journalist, a travelling backpack journalist?

Laugh at the idea of renting a journalist, but then remember this: Layoffs, buyouts, the flu, a riot, a generation that wants satisfaction now.

Most people think of backpack journalists being someone equipped with enough tools and skills to report a a story in multiple mediums.

Perhaps we should expand the definition to include those willing and able to come to your station/newspaper/web site to fill in for the ill or vacationing, supplement thinned staffs when a crisis, disaster or a big "xxx turns 100" special assignments hit your community.

This is not your typical free-lance job with its defined, one time assignment.

This would be the place to hire temps who move in to supplement what needs to be done now because it is now.


Perhaps retirees or stay-at-home parents who want occassional work.

Perhaps those who like travel, disasters, the challenge of something new everyday.

A company like this might appeal to the generation of "I want it now" that we have raised. It would appeal to the journalist who would prefer to direct his or her career story by story.

Maybe it is expanded to include Rent an Expert, the former journalist who could train your new cops or courts reporter; the designer who could show your team how to efficiently use the software.

Perhaps a way to capture the expertise leaving our newsrooms.

Perhaps a way to re gain the type of knowledge newspapermen once spread from newsroom to newsroom when those type of Johnny Appleseeds were allowed into non-sanitized newsrooms.


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