I’m going to try something a little different here and offer a regular roundup of links related to displaced journalists and career reinvention. In light of the continuing butchery of newsrooms, there’s so much material that I’ve been gathering lately but that I’ve done nothing with on the blog, usually due to a lack of time to sort through them.
The trendy word for these roundups is “curation,” and it sounds a bit pretentious, like a lot of the new media jargon does. But like art museum curators who are well-versed in their subjects, journalists with expertise in their areas of specialty and some Web savvy can learn rather easily to “curate” the news. I’ve been doing this sort of thing for several years in my time as a Web editor and producer and never knew what to call it.
So why not start a curated blog post with a link about . . . Web curation?
• From wire/copy editor to curator: Two of the most obsolete positions in print newsrooms contain within them the skills and news judgment to filter the Web. Helping people wade through the Web, identifying relevant links on a topic and explaining their importance to readers is an updated description of a job many journalists have been doing for years. My question: Yes, but how many of these folks are still employed in newsrooms?
• Learning to add value: New media pioneer Jeff Jarvis ditches his usual jargon with a heartfelt plea to journalists to think hard about how they can make their work more useful to readers. Doing more original reporting is part of this equation. Nice concept, of course, if you can convince your superiors to let you operate this way. In whittled-down newsrooms, this kind of journalism is rapidly becoming a luxury. For freelancers, getting paid for the true value of this work is a pipedream. I speak from harsh experience.
• Are you a “complete journalist?” Former newsaper journalist-turned-entrepreneur Mark Briggs defines that term with five elements he maintains are essential to do good work on the Web. They are multimedia skills to accompany, not replace, the ethics, news judgment and passion that the best journalists have always valued.
• Fired in the press box: Columnist David Steele was one of three Baltimore Sun staffers laid off while covering an Orioles game last week. He recounts his gut-wrenching experience, including his inability to send a goodbye e-mail to his colleagues after getting the news. His login and password had already been cancelled.
• From buyout to broke: Former Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Delma Francis has a chilling tale of her life since leaving that paper and not being able to find work. As a fellow buyout-taker, this one had me reeling. Francis calls herself the poster child for the middle class unemployed.
• A brutal reprieve for the Boston Globe: That newspaper figures to be gutted heavily after the local Newspaper Guild chapter agreed to pay cuts, furloughs and relinquishing the lifetime job guarantee for nearly 200 newsroom employees. It’s still publishing, but that’s about all.
• David Simon: Dead-Wrong Dinosaur: I’m no fan of Gawker, the jewel of media mogul Nick Denton’s snark Website empire, but this headline summing up Wednesday’s “Future of Journalism” hearing on Capitol Hill is spot-on. Simon, the creator of “The Wire,” is a former Baltimore Sun reporter outraged at what’s happening to newspapers. But his prescription for “saving” them, and his doubts that bloggers — citizens and journalists — can effectively report on their communities are skillfully dissected. Without the snark.