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Posts Tagged ‘TBD’

I was traveling and leading workshops this week for the anti-climactic final end of TBD. I didn’t have time to weigh in then, except on Twitter, after my former TBD colleague Jenny Rogers broke the news:

I don’t have a lot to add, but I’ve blogged a lot about TBD here, so I should note the denouement. TBD made our mark in part through effective aggregation of Washington local news, so I’ll note its passing with some aggregation on its brief history. It won’t be complete, but I invite you to add some more links in the comments. Where I aggregate content from TBD, I should note that I don’t know how long it will remain available. Archived content appears to be online, though the home page and some searches redirect to wjla.com.

Before we get to the actual demise, I have to share a link and screenshot from the coverage of our launch: I don’t believe any elaboration is needed here.

As for coverage of the actual death, it was pretty muted, perhaps appropriately for an operation whose life and death throes were perhaps overcovered. Here are the best accounts I saw of the final demise (normally that phrase would be redundant, but TBD’s demise was drawn-out enough that I consider it appropriate):

Erik Wemple’s No more TBD.com (Erik was TBD’s editor and now blogs about media for the Washington Post: (more…)

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Two years ago, I was working with Jim Brady, right, Mandy Jenkins, left, and Julie Westfall to launch TBD. Now we’re still trying to change the news business at Digital First Media. We’re together this week at the Thunderdome newsroom.

Two years ago today, an incredibly talented crew of journalists launched TBD. We had a lot of hype and a lot of fun, even if it didn’t last long. TBD now exists in URL only, its concept abandoned, its talent scattered, its name linked to history’s most famed sinking ship. But I have yet to talk to a colleague who doesn’t remember the experience fondly.

I blogged on the first anniversary of our launch last year about some lessons from the TBD. I’m not going to observe the anniversary every year, but I think two years after the launch it’s worth noting where the #TBDiaspora ended up and how we’re doing. The day Jim Brady left TBD in early November 2010, less than three months after launch, he said he hoped we’d “get the band back together” someday. Well, we have a quartet of the old band playing for Digital First Media: Jim, Mandy Jenkins, Julie Westfall and me. I’ve updated us plenty, but I wanted to check in with the rest of my colleagues. (more…)

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Creativity is contagious. One of the best ways to make a good idea better is to share it with other creative people.

Digital First’s new Social Media Wire is the child of two groups of creative people: the original Journal Register Co. ideaLab and the community engagement staff at TBD. The Social Media Wire is testing now on the site of the New Haven Register and eventually will roll out across Digital First Media’s news sites across the country.

Mandy Jenkins, our Digital Projects Editor, writes about the Social Media Wire on her Zombie Journalism blog. Mandy is leading the way on the project and played a key role in development of the idea at TBD.

As we were planning the TBD launch, scheduled for Aug. 9, 2010, I suggested that we tell the story of the day in Washington through the content people were creating about the day: Gather all the local tweets, Facebook updates, news stories, YouTube videos, photos and so forth that we could find and show them in chronological order, as quickly after they happened as we could. I thought if we promoted it well, it would be something people would come back to again and again throughout the day and would establish us as something different from traditional news sources.

I saw it as a one-day project of intensive work by the community engagement team. Fortunately, my team had better ideas. The team was Mandy, Jeff Sonderman, Daniel Victor, Lisa Rowan and Nathasha Lim. I don’t remember who had what ideas, but it’s fair to credit the whole group with the idea. Because once I outlined the idea, the discussion took off, with everyone contributing, and they just left my original idea in the dust. (more…)

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The old career advice doesn’t always fit today. For most of my career, veterans would have counseled a young journalist to stick around a while, so your résumé showed some stability. You want to show some commitment, an ability to hold a job.

Daniel Victor

But the New York Times just hired my friend Daniel Victor to his fifth job in just a little over two years. I was one of those others who hired him (to his longest tenure of the past three jobs) and I enthusiastically recommended him to other employers.

Dan was a reporter for the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., when 2010 started. I hired him to join TBD’s community engagement team. When TBD cut its staff, Dan moved to Philly.com to help build an online community. When Amanda Michel was looking for someone to help with social media at ProPublica, I recommended Dan and she hired him. Then she moved to the Guardian and Dan got her job leading ProPublica’s social media efforts. Now he’s moving to the New York Times.

News is a volatile industry right now with lots more journalists looking for work than finding jobs. A journalist who has been hired four times in 26 months is a journalist in high demand.

Since I know a little about Dan and his career moves, I thought I would (with his permission) share some career lessons from watching him, as I did after hiring Mandy Jenkins for the second time. The first four lessons are nothing new and their importance can’t be overstated: (more…)

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Note displayed at APILike a drawing on the Etch-a-Sketch that is so popular in politics now, my journalism past has pretty much been shaken clean. Almost everywhere I worked has been shut down or sold:

  • Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal. Newspaper carrier, 1968-70. Citizen-Journal died in 1985.
  • Shenandoah (Iowa) Evening Sentinel. Sports reporter, 1971-72; intern 1975; reporter, editorial page editor, managing editor, 1976-77. The Tinley family sold the Sentinel to Park Newspapers in the 1980s and the Sentinel died in 1993. (more…)

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My move to Journal Register Co. and Digital First Media and my work for my new companies dominated my writing this year on this blog. I’ve reviewed my blogging each of the past two years, so I’ll do it again in a post that clearly is self-indulgent. Still, I think it’s good to look back on a year’s work, and as long as I’m doing that, I might as well blog it.

The most notable posts of the year were a series I wrote the week before Christmas, explaining aspects of Digital First journalism. The piece on the workflow of a Digital First journalist became my second most-read blog post ever in just a week. While it’s more than 3,000 views behind my Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection, I’m sure it will eventually become my most-read blog post. It took the C3 blueprint nine months to reach 5,000 views. The Digital First workflow topped that in just over a week. Three other posts in the series topped 1,000 views quickly.

My work for JRC and DFM contributed to the blog in lots of other ways. I explained what community engagement means. More than a dozen blog posts offer tips, links and slides for workshops I did in visits to Digital First newsrooms. I also blogged frequently about how Digital First Media colleagues are using social media and engaging the community: (more…)

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I have two interactive map ideas to share: one that’s timely this week and one that I tossed out in conversation with some arts journalists Saturday:

Friday is Veterans Day. We got some pretty good engagement last year at TBD with our #wheretheyserved map (below), created by Daniel Victor.


(more…)

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The St. Petersburg Times is planning to rebrand itself as the Tampa Bay Times.

Here’s the primary reason I think you shouldn’t waste time, energy, focus and money rebranding a newspaper: Print newspapers are a declining business, and news organizations should spend time, energy, focus and money on building a successful digital business for the future, not trying to rebrand the product of the past.

I’m a longtime fan of the St. Pete Times and the Poynter Institute, the non-profit organization that owns it (and depends on Times profits for its prosperity). I wish the Times well in its rebranding effort. I hope it reaps in great profits that fund growth of Poynter’s programs.

However, I think MediaNews Group (my colleagues in Digital First Media) made the right decision in reversing a move toward a regional brand, retaining the established local brands, including the Oakland Tribune, a name with a long and distinguished history. (more…)

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I’m sorry to see Brad Rourke and Cindy Cotte Griffiths call it quits with Rockville Central.

They served their community well with a lively forum for news and discussion. They were innovative, shifting their product from a website to a Facebook-only community. They were a delight to work with as one of the first members of the TBD Community Network.

And they’ve decided it is time for them to move on. In a joint announcement on their Facebook page, Brad and Cindy this morning said:

The simple fact is that it takes a great deal of energy and time to support the online community in the way we feel it deserves. We do not make money off of Rockville Central, and never intended to. It is a labor of love and devotion to Our Fair City. We don’t feel we can devote the kind of energy it deserves and so, rather than let it whither, we decided to make a clean end.

(more…)

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A series of tweets last night reminded me of a lesson I should have included when I blogged last month about lessons from my TBD experience.

David Cohn tweeted a link to a Noah Davis story about AOL’s Seed being pretty much defunct. I retweeted with my own comment, without a great deal of thought or analysis.

(more…)

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Newspaper Next did not succeed in transforming the newspaper industry. But it transformed the career of this journalist.

N2 attracted great curiosity in the newspaper business five years ago today with the release of its Blueprint for Transformation report.

For the next year or so, the American Press Institute project was the talk of the newspaper business. My API colleagues and I made more than 100 presentations to  several thousand executives, sales reps, managers and journalists at industry conferences, seminars and workshops.

As someone who spent most of two years trying spread the N2 message and issuing the N2 call for transformation, it pains me to look back five years later and say that we didn’t bring about any significant lasting change. (more…)

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A year ago, my TBD colleagues and I launched one of the great adventures of my career.

Few remain there. TBD barely remains, its staff and mission diminished and redefined. Founding leader Jim Brady parted ways with owner Robert Allbritton last November. By February, Allbritton changed the mission and cut the staff. By May, I was gone.

A year ago, I thought we would be celebrating an exciting first year and planning more growth and expansion. My point here is not to dwell on the past. Instead, I will quietly lift a glass to my TBD colleagues and share some lessons for other digital pioneers (and for my Journal Register Co. colleagues) from our TBD experience. (more…)

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