Tag Archives: digital divide

As another ‘future of journalism’ gabfest goes on . . .

Today and tomorrow the Federal Trade Commission is conducting its very own “Future of Journalism” extravaganza with all the usual suspects, and from the live Tweeting I’ve seen they’re not saying anything all that new, as important as the topic may be.

Spicing up the festivities, however, was Queen Arianna’s clash with Rupert Murdoch this morning:

“Having Glenn Beck not searchable on Google is a really good thing for democracy, but as a business move, it is not a smart move.”

Oh, how we love Huffington so! Especially since she echoed her frequent refrain that the only news people will pay for is “specialized financial content and weird porn.” In one of Rupert’s most vociferous precincts, Queen Arianna is being accused of emphasizing a whole lotta flesh in building her own media empire. There’s too much irony here to go on this way.

If these folks are on the vanguard of the future of journalism, then we’ve all got real trouble, in addition to the usual litany of concerns embodied in the following links that have caught my attention via Delicious, Google Reader and Twitter:

• Douglas Rushkoff has kick-started an old debate about paying for the news by taking sides with Murdoch. Naturally, that has Jay Rosen all stirred up. So has this, from one of Uncle Rupert’s top Leftenants, which takes straight aim at the digital utopians. They don’t like that very much.

• Once a frequent whipping boy of the online news sages, David Carr of the New York Times apparently has been handed a key to the club after predicting a happy ending to the present gloomy media scenario, because the children are our future. Alan Mutter may have to turn in his membership card for arguing just the reverse, because the children don’t have much of a future. The Newsosaur is about as dour as I’ve read him, and that’s saying something. I think there’s some truth to both of these takes, as contrary as they are to one another.

• Recent layoffs of multimedia staff at the Washington Post are a troublesome sign that the print overlords at a news organization that seemed to get the Web just don’t value the work of digital journalists. Regina McCombs, one of my multimedia instructors from a Poynter Institute workshop I attended last year, writes that online producers and editors she hears from are feeling this way all around the country. (This also factored into my decision last year to accept a buyout.) I’ve argued this before and I’ll repeat it here: It’s time for the geeks to start running newsrooms. Old media managerial hands just keep fumbling the Web, but they’re unlikely to loosen their grip during these increasingly desperate times.

• At least the newly renamed PBS NewsHour is embracing the Web, even if Jim Lehrer isn’t interested in Twitter. It’s going to be a messy transition, but it sounds more promising than what’s happening in another D.C. newsroom.

• How easy is it for a small-town journalist to start a one-person news operation? As easy as this? I’m finding out that while the fundamentals laid out here are solid, there’s no guarantee for success. Journalists who have some money saved up, time to work out their concept and can rely on support from friends, family and others stand the best chance of making something work. But these experiments have only just begun, and will continue to proliferate. As will the chaos.

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Fresh and familiar takes on journalistic change

Because of my ongoing Web site-building project, I haven’t been able to post here as often or substantively as I would like. But below are some recent links to journalism and media topics that have been on my mind as I work toward a launch date that’s just around the corner.

(Some shorter, quicker notes I’ve been posting on my latest experiment in thinking out loud.)

There’s not an awful lot that’s new here for those well-versed in the online journalism field, but the constant drumbeat of change is perhaps driving the need to restate the obvious, or extend continuing debates:

An Epitaph for American Journalism:

“We need an aggressive, dynamic, highly technical kind of entrepreneurial journalism. One which will both teach and honor people who build new websites, create new companies, know how to finance them, grow them and sell them.

“Journalism has for far too long derided the business side of the business as ‘dirty’.  That is wrong. Plain wrong. Journalism is first and foremost a business. And without the income, there is no journalism at all.

“We have to abandon our notions of the noble ink-stained wretches forever in search of ‘the truth’ and embrace and learn to love making money.  (Turns your stomach to hear that, doesn’t it, you old ink-stained wretches?)  Too bad.”

Forces beyond anyone’s control:

“When the history of the decline and fall of newspapers is written — and wouldn’t it be grand if some genius came up with something to save us all! — there will be lots of blame assigned to complacent journalism executives. But I hope people understand that there were huge technology-driven social forces at work that couldn’t have been turned back by anyone.”

(via Andrew Sullivan)

Auletta on Internet disruption:

“When I hear people in traditional media today whine about, ‘Oh, woe is me, they’re doing these terrible things,’ I have no sympathy for that at all.”

Wild guesses won’t solve journalism crisis:

“With all due respect to my dedicated and talented colleagues, we need to try something different. Next time, we need to hear from people we don’t know, exploring things we don’t know about and examining potentially useful solutions we have yet to consider.”

Narrative is dead! Long live Narrative!:

“We needed a way of communicating that encouraged the evaluation of facts instead of the balancing of rhetoric. It’s a shift that requires a radically different theory of the press. . . Narrative isn’t under assault. The economic hegemony of mass media is, and with it go the fortunes of journalists who made a living via an advertising subsidy that went away.”

Guest Kit: ‘Life After Newspapers:’

“Something came over me, and I felt the urge to shout. So I did, tentatively at first, and then louder until I was screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘FREEDOM!’ over and over like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Then I remembered: in the very next frames of film, Gibson has his guts slowly spooled out of his body by the executioner. But, damn, this sense of liberation feels good. While it lasts.”

Meanderings along journalism’s yellow line

More links on the blurring lines and familiar talking (arguing?) points between old media and new media, and why I feel like an armadillo on a lonesome Texas highway:

• Garrison Keillor is sort-of crochety about the impact of the Web on writers and creativity, revealing a mixed set of emotions despite a very gloomy headline in his latest column on Salon:

“The Internet is a powerful tide that is washing away some enormous castles and releasing a lovely sense of independence and playfulness in the American people. Millions of people have discovered the joys of seeing yourself in print — your own words! the unique essence of yourself, your stories, your jokes, your own peculiar take on the world — out there where anybody can see it! Wowser. . . .

“Unfortunately, nobody is earning a dime from this. So much work, so little pay. It’s tragic.”

• Gina Chen offers up some appetizing “artisanal” ideas about remaking the news, and they’re making me very, very hungry:

“The news organization no longer strives to make every story as relevant as possible to everybody. Instead, it aims to make individual stories highly relevant to small groups of readers who collectively add up to lots of people. (Think Camembert for me; classic goat cheese for you.) Beats are constructed to tap into existing communities that appreciate the particular ‘cheese’ or ‘bread’ you are offering.

The main luncheon item on my news “café” would be grilled Mahon and jamón sandwiches with an olive tapenade and homemade vine ripe tomato soup, but I haven’t sorted out the rest of my menu. I am famished right now!

If newspapers hadn’t been gutting their staffs, they might have enough kitchen hands available to customize the varying tastes of their readers.

• Is there a “right” way to do news on the Web? Some leading online journalism innovators believe so, but at Politics Daily, some old-school ideas still apply:

“The three-month-old venture has become a reemployment program for middle-aged journalists who lack the flash and dash of young bloggers — and that is by design. Melinda Henneberger, the former Newsweek and New York Times reporter who runs the site, says her goal is ‘to preserve the values of the mainstream media.’ And in doing so, she is flouting several conventions about what works on the Web.”

I can understand the need not to feel like chasing every news tidbit, breathlessly. In fact, I find that rather refreshing. But my own experience has me doubting that there’s much of an audience willing to read a steady diet of 5,000-word stories.

• Photojournalists around the world are finding their avocation in free fall, and not just because of the decline of newspapers. News photo agencies are undergoing the same convulsions as other media institutions:

“I find the present situation depressing, but I’m crazy enough to be hopeful. There have never been more images out there, and we need more help in sorting out all the information.”

• An unsigned editorial in The Digital Journalist, founded and staffed by photojournalists, comes out strongly in favor of pay walls for the news:

“This is now not an academic argument. The [New York] Times has already mortgaged its new building to help make its payroll each week. Those reporters and editors need to be paid. Otherwise, the news that we take for granted will simply stop.”

One could argue that the Times could have better spent its money than on a shiny, pricey new building with the newspaper business in trouble even before the recession. Yes, those journalists need to get paid, but a pay wall isn’t going to come close to making up for what’s being lost as the Times and other newspapers continue to bleed money and talented journalists.

(link via Kevin Sablan)

• In a snarky diatribe from one blowhard to another, Mark Cuban gets some blowback from Michael Wolff for being critical of Newser’s aggregating practices, among other crimes against new media:

“News has never been paid for. Practically speaking, it’s always been free. It may be that no one has ever in the history of time charged for anything other than the cost of production and delivery of news and usually not even that. The deal has been penny newspapers and free broadcast. News, Mark, has, is, and shall remain, an ad-sponsored form of media.”

Whom do you root for in this one? I’ve love to lock these guys in a padded room and see what transpires.

A refreshing new media mea culpa

Take note of this, “printies” and traditional journalists: A rare apology from a leading new media proponent who admits to being a bit harsh on those with careers spent mainly in now-decaying mainstream news institutions:

“In my experience, the vast majority of journalists and editors work very hard and very well, usually without the compensation or recognition they deserve. I am deeply grateful for the efforts of my colleagues in the journalistic trenches. I’m especially awed by journalists who keep doing their work independently, after their job or news org disappears.”

Amy Gahran’s farewell piece as editor of The Poynter Institute’s E-Media Tidbits feature also explains why she has taken journalism educators to task for similar reasons — her impatience with the journalistic status quo and enthusiasm for new ways of doing the news:

“Yes, I can be pretty cocky and flippant, and sometimes I’ve been oblivious to the current pain and struggles of journalists and news orgs. I apologize for that.”

I wish she wouldn’t have waited until signing off from her column to write this, but I think it’s a big gesture to do it at all. I’ve never found Gahran too over the top, especially in comparison with some of her counterparts. Indeed, in my very first post on this blog (has it been almost a year?), I included a video clip of her talking about the massive rethinking needed by mainstream journalists. Her comments were rather spot-on, based on some of my experiences as a Web editor at my former newspaper’s site.

But one of the most deflating discoveries I’ve had in acquainting myself with the work and ideas of some online media sages is the kick-em-when-they’re-down tone of their diatribes. Occasionally I’ve gone to their sites to gain information and understanding and often feel instead like I’m getting punched in the stomach for not being in the vaunted generation of young journalists with laptops in their cribs. Journalists from the “legacy” domain have been regarded as a clueless, antiquated and unreconstructed bunch, especially if they are at a mid- or late-career stage.

The gleeful, blanket condemnation of the so-called curmudgeon class is meant to summarize the mindset of an entire profession, but conveniently ignores many journalists from backgrounds like mine who do “get” and even embrace the Web. The antipathy for anything reeking of the print world is just as kneejerk as that of the curmudgeons. Even younger journalists know there are plenty of old school values worth bringing forward:

“While we are caught up in our new toys — and I include myself in this — we risk forgetting where we came from.”

I don’t expect anyone else to say they’re sorry as Gahran has. That’s not the point, really. But perhaps her message might signal a less hostile approach to blending old “printies” like me into the world of Web journalism. Instead of the one-way scolding that we’ve been getting, perhaps the sages might actually start to think that we’ve got a significant stake in the future of the profession. I’m not going to hold my breath, but thanks for your thoughts, Amy.

• Former Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple is doing his damnedest not to let the work of stellar newspaper reporters, now outside the newsroom, go unnoticed. He continues a series of interviews with former Pulitzer Prize winners who’ve either been laid off or who’ve taken buyouts. Some are mindful how their old worldviews contributed to the demise of the industry. Says former Washington Post Style section reporter Tamara Jones:

“I think we all wish we hadn’t been so complacent. There’s always been this disparity between the way we perceive ourselves and how society views us. As journalists, we genuinely believe that we are doing noble work, but opinion polls consistently rank us among the least-trustworthy, right down there with ambulance-chasers, grave robbers and mercenaries. Maybe we should have been less indignant and more curious about why we weren’t valued.”

I plead guilty to possessing this sentiment as well, for far too long. Temple’s also talking to other post-newsroom journalists about how they’re reinventing themselves in another series entitled “A New Life.”

In both cases, there are some very inspiring stories here.

• New York Times media reporter David Carr talks to Tina Brown a decade following the big party that launched the audacious “Talk” magazine, which didn’t last three years. Carr casts this as a metaphor for the end of the splashy word of legacy print media, and although Brown now has gone Web with The Daily Beast, she’s a bit wistful too:

“I was aware it was a historic night. We were on a boat and I was with Natasha Richardson. We were talking and laughing, looking at the lights of the twin towers. And then a big wave came over the side of the boat and soaked us both. Now Natasha is gone, the towers are gone. It’s very, very sad, but I am very excited by this new world we are heading into.”

I have my own Ten Years After remembrance — from a quite different event that same year. It seems 1999 is the year we all partied, a bit too hearty, and we’re all trying now to put those times in perspective, learn from them and carry on.

Readings: On brawny work, memory and Google, social media misuse and serendipity-doo-dah

Lots of good long-form and think pieces about journalism, the media and the digital realm are served up here for your weekend reading. There’s plenty to choose from here, so enjoy:

But it feels like the first time: Slate’s Jack Shafer says the print-Web wars have nothing on the way the newspaper industry faced its first competitive threat, at a time when it was in much better health:

“Some print journalists and industry leaders claimed that radio content was inaccurate, skimpy, sensationalist, and trivial and that its practitioners were amateurs. When radio news was accurate, they asserted, it was either a bunch of headlines from a newspaper or a story directly pilfered from one. Does any of this sound familiar?”

AP’s copyright cluelessness: Erik Sherman at BNET lets the news collective have it over its threat to sue sites merely linking to its content. “Idiots” and “pinheads” are among his kinder epithets:

I’m not someone who buys into the whole ‘information wants to be free’ ethos. I make a living off my intellectual property of writing and have a lot of sympathy for print publications, where much of my work appears. However, you can’t run a business on how you wish the world operated. Instead, you must find a model that operates within reality. And that’s why the AP, and other media companies that long for the good old days, are doomed.”

Going down with the ship?: Ex-Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News reporter Michael Sokolove talks to Brian Tierney, publisher of both papers and who unapologetically defends the print-and-ink process:

“The Web efforts, they add something. I congratulate them. Let a thousand flowers bloom. But if somebody thinks in any short term, or even medium term, that the answers are those things, they’re kidding themselves. I know I sound like a heretic in that I won’t come out and say, ‘They’re the future.’ But they’re not. The brawny work is what we’re doing, and the brawny vehicle to carry it is the printed product.”

Murdoch’s big paywall gamble: Shane Richmond at The Daily Telegraph says the media mogul is serving up a big gift to his competitors, which include, er, The Daily Telegraph, although not in this particular sentence:

“This is a great opportunity for the Mirror, The Daily Star and, I suppose, producers of pictures of topless women, to hoover up those Sun readers who aren’t sure whether they want to pay.”

Drinking from a firehose: Danielle Maestretti at the Utne Reader is looking for a few good people who know how to help the masses navigate their way around the Web:

“All of this fretting over the death of reading might sound more genuine if it wasn’t usually articulated by and for people who’ve staked their lives and careers on traditional media models—authors, academics, journalists, publishers, and the like. More importantly, it’s often beside the point. The debate over how we read, perpetuated largely by media insiders, is starting to seem like little more than a distraction from the real problem: We have access to more information than ever, yet we do not know what to do with it. We are desperately information-illiterate.”

What was that again?: Librarian Emily Walshe isn’t exactly hand-wringing, and she isn’t the first to worry about how cognition is being altered because of the ease of the search engine:

“With so many of us slave to tin can memory, our human capacity for identification is jeopardized. Because when we commit things to mind, we become the authors of experience. When we choose to remember, we relate to our most fundamental resource and, in so doing, achieve a unique and perfect balance between representation and meaning.”

Commodify your Tweets: Before Twitter’s denial of service attack on Thursday, Jasmin Tragas did a Google search on a topic that’s been bugging her and came up with a question directed at novelist Rick Moody. It confirmed her suspicions about the exploitation of social media:

“Have we gotten to a point where the commodification of personality has become so overbearing that it’s impossible for us to separate self-promotion from expression?”

A very fine wine: Along those same lines, British freelancer David Lloyd takes a dim view of Web wine impresario Gary Vaynerchuk’s yammering about personal branding:

“The blogs I visit most aren’t written to be ‘monetised’. They’re written because their owners have something to say. Or they want to offer a service, or advice, or, maybe, they just want to write. And isn’t that where all the best sites originated anyway? Money might follow. It might not. Really, Gary, don’t sweat it.”

How many years of blogs? David Silversmith argues that given the 500-year head start by the printed word, it’s far too soon to determine the longevity of blogs. But he predicts they won’t be very egalitarian and could end up being dominated by blogging Darwinians. I think that’s already the case:

The world can’t support 184 million blogs. . . . The few, the mighty and the strong blogs will survive and thrive – but the age of blogging offering everybody a voice will fade away.”

(via Amy Vernon)

Serendipity-doo-dah: New York Times technology editor Damon Darlin ignited a firestorm over his assertion that the digital age isn’t good for information meandering:

Ah, the techies say, no worries. We have Facebook and Twitter, spewing a stream of suggestions about what to read, hear, see and do. . . . But that isn’t serendipity. It’s really group-think. Everything we need to know comes filtered and vetted. We are discovering what everyone else is learning, and usually from people we have selected because they share our tastes.”

Big Digerati Dog Steven Johnson got the logrolling going emphatically:

“Do these people actually use the Web?”

More pushback here and here. Even some of Darlin’s fans are scratching their heads. But he does have some defenders on this point.

And of course, there has to be some over-the-top snark for good measure.

I revel in all forms of serendipity, though I lean toward Darlin’s point that “group-think” could be a negative consequence of too much, or the wrong kind, of filtering. (What I compile here each Friday is a combination of serendipity and filtering by others, both in print and on the Web.)

During that testy interview with Der Spiegel last week, Chris Anderson admitted he really doesn’t do serendipity:

“I figure by the time something gets to me it’s been vetted by those I trust. So the stupid stuff that doesn’t matter is not going to get to me.”

Readings: Massing, nichepapers, “Free” bashing

On Fridays I like to serve up some long-form material on digital media, suitable for weekend reading. As always, journalism on the Web is a hot topic, and particularly Chris Anderson’s snippy interview this week that has even a few online evangelists a bit incredulous.

Good news about news on the Web: At The New York Review of Books, longtime political journalist Michael Massing offers a prodigious assessment of the evolution of news into a print/Web hybrid. He points out the Internet’s shortcomings — including it being “a hothouse for rumors, distortions, and fabrications.” But after examining the work of Andrew Sullivan and Talking Points Memo, among other pioneering political bloggers and news sites, Massing likes much of what he sees happening online:

“The practice of journalism, far from being leeched by the Web, is being reinvented there, with a variety of fascinating experiments in the gathering, presentation, and delivery of news. And unless the editors and executives at our top papers begin to take note, they will hasten their own demise.”

Massing admits all this is unsettling, and remains concerned about how good journalism will be funded. But his lucid, empirical argument is a refreshing alternative to the either/or shouting into caverns of the digital divide.

Niches as news institutions: Web media entrepreneur Umair Haique, writing on the Harvard Business School blog, goes beyond railing against old media tendencies to charge for online news. “The Nichepaper Manifesto” argues in favor of news structured into distinct, dynamic and inviting ways for readers to interact and respond — via a curating method he calls “commentage.” And he claims that the “superior economics” of this idealized model will be the foundation for the future of news:

“Nichepapers do meaningful stuff that matters the most. The great failing of 20th century news is that monopoly power became a substitute for meaningful value creation. At root, that’s the lesson that newspapers are learning the hard way.”

However, Haique doesn’t address the economics of how this news is to be created and which is at the root of the raging debate over “Free.”

Hate to interrupt your triumphalism: Blogging superstar Cory Doctorow’s takedown of “Free” is more devastating than Malcolm Gladwell’s. Doctorow’s not a defensive print journalist but an author who has posted his new science fiction novel online for free. Ultimately he can’t embrace Anderson’s thesis because of what he leaves out:

“Also missing in Free is the frank admission that for many of the practitioners threatened by digital technology, the future is bleak.

“For while it is true that Madonna and many other established artists have found a future that embraces copying, there will also be many writers, musicians, actors, directors, game designers and others for whom the internet will probably spell doom. And for every creator who loses her livelihood because she is unsuited to the digital future, there will be many more intermediaries – editors, executives, salespeople, clerks, engineers, teamsters and printers – who will also be rendered jobless by technology.

“It is possible to be compassionate about those peoples’ fortunes – just as it is possible to mourn the passing of mom-and-pop bookstores, the collapse of poetry as a viable commercial concern, the worldwide decline of radio serials, the waning of the knife-sharpening trade, and a million other bygone human activities – while still not apologising for the future.”

Come on, just say the “J” word: In a contentious interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, an annoyed Anderson insisted he doesn’t use the words “journalism” and “media” any more. The same for “news.” In fact, he proclaims that “the words of the last century don’t have meaning.” Because there’s no need to rely on time-honored sources or methods to find out what’s happening in the world:

“It comes to me, which is really quite common these days. More and more people are choosing social filters for their news rather than professional filters. We’re tuning out television news, we’re tuning out newspapers. And we still hear about the important stuff, it’s just that it’s not like this drumbeat of bad news. It’s news that matters. I figure by the time something gets to me it’s been vetted by those I trust. So the stupid stuff that doesn’t matter is not going to get to me.”

His “journalism as hobby” line naturally has some old print tribes up in arms. But general readers ripped into Anderson when he chirped about how much he gets his news from Twitter, and sounding like someone who thinks milk comes from the supermarket instead of the farm.

“Oh dear, Chris, get back on the planet:” Roy Greenslade, media writer of The Guardian, admonishes Anderson for his semantic stubbornness:

“I count myself as a passionate advocate for new ways of practising journalism. But I do believe there is something called journalism. I do believe we there is still something called news.”

After rave reviews of “The Long Tail” (which I read and liked), the response to “Free” has been mixed from the start. I think he’s largely correct in assessing how individuals are consuming and sharing news, and that journalism increasingly may be left to hobbyists. But I was surprised by his smugness and agitation when challenged to back up his claims. Then again, new media gurus aren’t used to having their views challenged.

I haven’t read Anderson’s new book (it’s not “Free,” but a hefty $26.99), so I’ll reserve a more complete critique for later. For now, he smacks of an old media pontificator who doesn’t like being upbraided, even in the slightest.

And Anderson’s embrace of a postmodernish verbal relativism — which goes beyond mere vocabulary — leaves me stone cold. Words do have meaning, and how they’re used matters even more.

It’s not the tools, but how you use them

When I first made the switch from print reporter to Web producer, I never thought I’d acquire the initial technical skills that seemed so daunting.

That first month on the Web felt like purgatory, indeed the ninth circle. I was convinced I was not put on this earth to do HTML coding or understand the bizarre quirks of a non-user-friendly content management system (aren’t they all?). Was I just another “printie” sent to the Web side to die?

When I finally licked the essentials of posting stories, blogs, photos and other content, Webworld had another surprise in store. My steep learning curve had only just begun.

Nikki Usher of the Online Journalism Review writes that the most valuable skill set goes far beyond mastering the toolbox:

“It’s not the skills that you get that will save your job, or repurpose you for the future, it’s whether you can learn how to think like a journalist in the Web 2.0, or what some are even calling the Web 3.0 world.”

Not every journalist is going to be great at all the multimedia bells and whistles they may learn. I can vouch for that. She mentions the “Standing Up for Journalism” pilot I attended at the Poynter Institute in November where I learned audio and video skills that I found especially valuable. I haven’t managed to place my pinkie in the lens of a video camera yet, but give me some time!

But I know what my Web strengths are. After my initial freshman hazing period, I got to be very good at understanding what journalism works best on the Web and how the tools and the Web itself have altered the nature of that journalism. Most importantly, I was able to use my new expertise to help translate these concepts to other print-oriented journalists grappling with a formidable new way of thinking about their work.

Not only did this breakthrough re-energize me, but it prepared me for the substantive work of being an online journalist. Usher again:

“Multimedia training doesn’t need to incorporate new skills if journalists can find ways to think about including in their work opportunities for conversation through citizen journalism, crowd-sourcing, interactivity, wikis, blogging, and social network, as Beckett points out, “not as ad-ons, but as an essential part of news production and distribution.”

“Journalists don’t have to learn how to take photos, though maybe they should, but they need to think about new ways to connect to an audience that is increasingly connected to them.

“The truth is that most skills boot camps don’t turn the majority of the journalists who attend them into professional quality video editors or graphic designers; in fact, many of the projects they turn out in training sessions would not be fit for the Web.

“But the value of these training sessions is that they do help journalists learn to see the potential of what these new tools can bring to the work they do – so instead of making multimedia experts, journalists can learn how to think like them. But we ought to reconsider the goals of these training sessions and align them to change thinking to change practice, rather than use them to change practice and hope it will change thinking.”

You must get skills you don’t have. University of Florida professor Mindy McAdams has begun a series on multimedia proficiency for reporters that I think is ideal for any journalist new to the subject. Here’s her introductory post.  There are plenty of easy how-to tips on audio and video as well as starting a blog that she details in 101 format.

Here’s a helpful introduction to Web services by Shawn Smith at New Media Bytes that reporters would be wise to get acquainted with. I would add all journalists can benefit.

And if you’re as intimidated by all this Web stuff as I once was, the folks over at the Old Media, New Tricks blog are very good at explaining it in language you can understand.

Gina Chen of the Save the Media blog writes passionately about the need for journalists to embrace new media. It starts with the tools, of course, but there’s so much more to learn from there.

I learn from these sites, and many others, every day. I’ve listed some in my blogroll under “Online-J Tips.” The sooner you start playing around with the tools, the sooner you will gain the understanding and insight needed to do good journalism on the Web.