Some excursions into value-added journalism

Here are some more Future of Journalism goodies plucked from the Interwebs and assembled for your Dog Days of Summer link picnicking.

Today’s theme: How journalists can make and are making themselves more valuable to their readers and their profession. Whether you’re in a newsroom or not, the suggestions and lessons below are, in a word, invaluable:

• Forbes.com president CEO Jim Spanfeller gazes into his crystal ball and sees the possibility that the work of journalists may be more highly valued than it has been, and is currently regarded.

Spanfeller believes the “trust” factor that the legacy media has used to its advantage will go only so far. Those outlets, and the traditionally-trained journalists who’ve worked in them, must seriously set to work to master the online realm and, more importantly, understand what’s at stake:

“Now that the web is in its adolescence, there is little room for ‘finding one’s way.’ You get just one shot with readers to show them what you can do, and you better do well enough with it to get them to come back another time.”

Postscript: On Thursday, Forbes announced Spanfeller was stepping down to run his own media management firm.

• For those of us eager to be in that fray while searching for a source (or sources) of steady income, this transition period is fraught with anxiety. But it’s also been a liberating experience for laid-off multimedia journalist Mark Luckie, who thinks losing his job was the best thing to happen to him:

“It took a few months for me to realize it, but I had indeed been given a special opportunity to hone my craft and share my passion with others. Self discovery doesn’t pay the bills and news of being laid off is nothing a journalist wants to hear, but I take solace in the fact that creativity thrives in the most oppressive times of one’s life.

• Former Slate.com editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg talks with The Economist about being a Web journalism pioneer, what’s being lost in the transition from print and how journalists have to adapt to the realities. One key component is appreciating and employing what’s unique about writing for online readers:

“Writing that’s native to the web is different in ways that are crucial but subtle enough that you can miss them if you conceive of your audience as reading a printed product. The tone of good web writing grows out of email. It’s more direct, personal, colloquial, urgent, witty, efficient. It doesn’t waste your time. It reflects that engagement, responsiveness and haste of web surfers, as opposed to the more general passivity of print readers. It integrates the use of links into the creative and intellectual process as opposed to tacking them on afterwards. And it uses multimedia in an organic rather than an ornamental way.”

(link h/t Mich Sineath)

• A former colleague of mine is getting a quick and furious education in that respect. Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist Mark Bradley’s regimen now requires three blog posts daily during the week, far more than he writes for print:

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some initial hesitation on my part, and I’d be lying if I told you that, after six weeks, I’ve settled into what I’d call an ideal routine. I haven’t yet, though I’m getting closer. But the trick, I’m learning, is treat the digital world, which is a totally different animal from print, totally differently. I wouldn’t want to write 15 posts a week full of the usual Bradley column-style bloviation, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to read them. That’s why you’re seeing more of a mix. . .

“And I’ve found, at the advanced age of 53, that focusing on the digital audience has enabled me to look on a job I’ve done for more more than 30 years in a whole new light. This stuff is, in a word, fun.

(link h/t Kristi Swartz)

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