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Archive for June 3rd, 2012

This is the prepared text for my June 2 keynote speech to the Pennsylvania Press Conference. I ad-libbed a bit, so this isn’t exactly what I said.

I’m used to leading 90-minute workshops at conferences like this. When Becky Bennett told me I would have only 15 minutes for my keynote address, my first thought was that I wouldn’t have much time to tell you about Digital First journalism and my company’s vision for the future of our profession. But we are, after all, meeting in Gettysburg, and I recall a tradition here of getting to the point quickly and saying something memorable without wasting words. Besides which, I’m better known now for my tweets than for all the long newspaper stories, editor’s columns, blog posts or workshop handouts I’ve ever written. So I want to steal an approach from my boss (always a good idea) and talk to you in a series of 10 tweets (with a little elaboration that might go over 140 characters, but definitely not over 15 minutes).

Before I start the tweets, I’ll say that these are focused on the journalism rather than the business because this is an audience of journalists. But we need to be as forward-looking in our business approach as we are in our coverage of the news. I am encouraged by the progress we’re making at Digital First Media in developing a new business model and finding new revenue streams, and you can read more about that on my blog and John Paton’s (he’s the boss who gave a speech to NAA that was built around tweets). But here I’m focusing on the future of journalism.

Much as you and I might love the feel of a newspaper in our hands and the smell of ink, and even though our craft uses a machine so precious it was mentioned in the Bill of Rights, quality journalism has no inherent connection to print. Liars Janet Cooke, Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley all worked in print and every crappy supermarket tabloid is a newspaper. The things that make us proud of our profession can make us proud of our digital journalism: commitment to getting the facts right, dedication to seeking and reporting the truth, high ethical standards, holding the powerful — and ourselves — accountable, serving the watchdog role with honor. (more…)

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