Monday, April 30, 2007

Internal convergance

Having trouble persuading your peers of the value of this digital stuff? You aren’t the only one.

Trade journalist Paul Conley has come across some pretty entrenched views:

Consider the editor who told me he wouldn't think about providing headlines for mobile devices because "no reasonable person needs more than a PC to stay connected."

Or consider the reporter, told by his boss to include links in his copy, who insists that his publication "has to hire a specialist to do hyperlinks for me."

Or consider the managing editor who told me she'd fight any attempt by her staff to launch new online products because she liked her job and her schedule "just the way it is."

Sound familiar?

The temptation may be to leave the hard-headed behind and go for the fresh young team. There are plenty out there. New journalist Meranda Watling is one.

Thing is, the industry is being flooded with “kids” like me. Bright-eyed and ready for anything, willing to take everything on and to become an expert on whatever you put on the budget with our name beside it. Willing to learn. If there’s someone there to teach us.

And that’s the point. Will there be anyone around to teach her? Conley starts his post with:

Many of the journalists I know have adopted a strange, delusional vision of their value. I could say that they are in a state of denial. But that hardly describes the sorts of things I hear from people.

Rather, I think it's fair to say that these folks -- veteran journalists with years of experience -- have moved from denial into fantasy.

They've gone from being stubborn about adding new skills to being rigidly opposed to any change in their job description. And they cannot see the damage they are doing to themselves, their peers and their publications.

Does a digital editor have a role in changing this mindset? I think they do.

Traditionally bright-eyed and jaded journo don’t often mix but digital editors are in an enviable position at the moment of having the influence to be able to pull together those different generations.

So why not try a little internal convergence. Everyone may thank you for it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Digital Editors' Network to link up before next Forum

It seems appropriate that a Forum about entrepreneurship should be used a launch pad for the new Digital Editors' Network
. For those who are keen to join Nick Turner for a roundtable about this new network, we've booked Room 123A in Greenbank Building, the home to the Lancashire Business School of which we (the Department of Journalism ) is a part. The suggestion is that folks meet up at around 3pm to plot a way forward. From 4-5pm DEN members can join a special Journalism Leaders Programme session on blogging. Robin Hamman, co-ordinator of the BBC's Blogging Network, and Richard Fair, a Senior Broadcast Journalist from BBC Radio Manchester, will give a presentation on the much-discussed BBC Manchester Blog, which they describe as "a project to engage with user generated content without owning the platform, moderating, or incurring any of the usual costs and risks associated with hosting audience communities." Spaces for this session are limited, so please let me know soonest at leaders [at] ukjournalism [dot] org.

Following this hour-long interactive session, there'll be a Networking Reception (Read: wine) before the Forum, which typically wraps up officially around 7:15pm, though discussions are known to continue at 'the local' nearby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

  • Hi

    I am hoping to use the next Journalism Leaders seminar on May 15th as an opportunity to kick-start the idea of a Digital Editors’ Network.

    Just to recap the aims of the Digital Editors’ Network are:
    To provide an online community for journalists involved in running media websites
    Facilitate discussion between digital editors and encourage sharing of best practice/tips, etc
    Allow digital editors to access the expertise at the University of Central Lancashire’s journalism department

    I hope we could have an opportunity for an informal discussion about how best to take forward this idea on May 15th at UCLAN.

    At 6pm The Journalism Leaders Forum discussion will include Nick Jaspen (North West Enquirer and now How To website), Eamonn Carey of the mobile media start-up, Random Thoughts Media, and Robin Hamman. More details at

    It’s an open invite and I would be grateful if anyone interested in a discussion about the Digital Editors’ Network beforehand would get in touch soon (UCLan have offered a room).

Please let me know if you will be able to make it and any suggestions you have for taking the Digital Editors’ Network forward.

I have already had some encouraging support from regional and national journalists and can report back on this on May 15th.

Nick Turner
07764 657037