Archive for August, 2010

Welcome to Washington. I hope you soak up some American heritage while you’re here.

If you’ve come to the nation’s capital for today’s “Restoring Honor” rally, I hope you take some time to see the magnificent sights here.

Since you’ll be right there at the Lincoln Memorial, climb the steps and read some of the words of that great American: “With malice toward none; with charity for all.” (more…)


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In the days of my callow youth, I remember referring to journalists who ventured into public relations as having “sold out.”

Never mind that many in PR toiled for pay as low as many journalists. Never mind that PR ethics also insist on getting the facts right. We like our world simplified into us and them, and to a journalist, the PR world was always them: trying to keep us from the story, trying to manipulate us somehow. (more…)

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My friend Sree Sreenivasan made me cringe when he referred to me as a “digital media expert” in his review of TBD‘s launch.

The truth is that I’m still fumbling around in TBD’s content management system. The digital natives I work with could sit through one or two sessions of CMS training and take off in a sprint. I need time to stumble around, make mistakes, ask questions, have someone show me how to do something a second or third time. But when I received CMS training, I was busy preparing for the launch and our previews for the news media (blog post on that experience coming soon). I didn’t have much time for practicing what I’d just learned. And my colleagues were so busy testing the CMS and fixing bugs that I didn’t want to slow them down to answer the old guy’s questions. Some expert, huh?

The reason I am confessing how old I feel at times in my youthful newsroom instead of boasting about how these whippersnappers help keep me young (thankfully, they often do) is that one of the brightest young whippersnappers in journalism has just written one of the smartest things I’ve seen about the generational divide in the news business. Before you finish reading this, read Generations in the Desert by DigiDave (David Cohn). This is a response to Dave, so this will make more sense if you read him first, even though I will quote a long passage: (more…)

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Readers of this blog know that Twitter is one of the best tools for covering breaking news.

But if you listen to and read the Twitter haters, you also hear that Twitter is a place where false rumors spread rapidly. My reply to that is that Twitter is a form of communication, and rumors spread on all forms of communication. A great example of that is the false report of Gordon Lightfoot’s death. Yes, it spread on Twitter. But it started by word of mouth, where rumors have been circulating since humans first mastered speech. And its big spread came when it was reported (without verification) by a professional news outlet. So how did that become Twitter’s fault?

My experience with the Gordon Lightfoot rumor was that I first saw a tweet shooting down the rumor, then saw one or two tweets spreading the rumor and dozens saying it wasn’t true. I noted at the time (on Twitter, of course) that Twitter was actually a great rumor-correcting platform.

Well, researchers from Yahoo! have confirmed both Twitter’s usefulness in spreading news and its effectiveness in correcting rumors. (more…)

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I led a webinar on blogging this afternoon for the Online Media Campus. My slides are below. I referred participants to the advice I collected from bloggers for a workshop last year.

I’m still interested in your help: What are some tips you have for effective blogging? Please add them in the comments, along with links to some bloggers who illustrate smart blogging techniques.

In addition to the advice linked above, you can get some good blogging advice (and coaching) from Alexis Grant. What are other helpful resources for bloggers?

Blogs I noted during the seminar (in addition to Alexis’ blog): (more…)

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Mimi has been after me to change the name of my blog. So starting today, with the launch of TBD, my blog becomes The Buttry Diary.

I’m still hopeful that many news organizations, including TBD, find and demonstrate the value of the Complete Community Connection. Pursuing the Complete Community Connection was the right title for this blog when I adopted the title last year. And I’ll be pursuing the innovation ideas that started there in my role with TBD. But I’m ready to move to a new blog name and I like the initials of this one.

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I remember fondly the first time I felt the excitement of launching a new product. Memories have flooded back as I have spent the last six months preparing for today’s launch of TBD.

Hometown was going to provide a new business model for the Des Moines Register. I had the odd title of “launch editor.” I wasn’t going to be part of the permanent staff, but I was in charge of sending the product into orbit.

The Register was a dying breed in an industry that was prospering (sort of), but is now declining (some say dying): We were a statewide newspaper. (more…)

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