journalism, news, publishing, socialmedia

2010: ideas for journalists

Here’s my take on  John Thompson‘s Ten things every journalist should know in 2010 posted over at journalism.co.uk this week (see also Vadim Lavrusik‘s 8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist at Mashable.com).

I’m coming from a regional news media perspective here: Twitter is something that journalists need to take up in order to interact with their beat/community, push their work and crowd source. There are many tools for managing Twitter, I prefer Seesmic for ease of use, and Monitter for keeping an eye on localised topics; for mobile phones try the Snaptu mobile app, which I’ve found to be quick and simple to use; see also: Tweetdeck.

Further reading: Lavrusik’s 8 Tools to Help Filter Your Twitter Stream & Find News at Poynter.org and  Mashable’s guide to Twitter for journalists.

But if journalists are going to tweet personally or have a Facebook profile (you may want to think about a personal and work-based account?), you need to consider your online ‘brand‘. It’s not about your employer if you have social media personas, it’s important to remember how you, your comments, posts and reputation will be seen – whilst reaping the benefits and bringing some of your personality into play.

Content curation is increasingly relevant as the web takes flat print stories and offers much more scope for expanding ‘living stories‘ (e.g. ‘climate change’, more on the Guardian Technology site) with links to sources, timelines, maps, the ability to update and correct errors, images stored on Flickr, lists of links on Delicious, integrated live comments from Twitter, live blogs from Cover It Live or Scribble Live. Read more on Mashable’s 8 future traits of journalists.

The web opens up the opportunity of collaborating with other journalists or publications, get local people or experts involved. The myth of the citizen journalist taking over has hopefully now been debunked. There are plenty of good bloggers out there, but few are professional writers with editors to advise them, but they still have a part to play in voicing concerns, raising issues and adding local opinion.

the blogosphere will remain an endless supply of true expertise, analysis and opinions that will challenge and stimulate old media… Frederic Filloux, Monday Note

Also, think about commercial opportunities or aspects of what you are putting together, as the industry continues to struggle to adapt to a multi-media, multi-platform world, finding ways of making money from digital content are key, and journalists would do themselves no harm by throwing any revenue ideas around.

Important points from Thompson’s list are that the core skills of journalism remain vital – being able to tell a story in whatever medium, along with the call to take control of modern technology. Start with small tools and skills, but there is so much to gain with a few skills and some understanding.

Content is king on the web, but it’s all about engagement, keep your reader interested make them feel part of the process or be open to feedback. Part of getting it right is choosing the rights social and multimedia tools to tell the story, maybe elements of layout and style or interactivity.

In short the future is not all bleak, there is great opportunity all around for journalism.

As Tom Standage puts it:  “The death of newspapers is not the same as the death of news.”

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