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Archive for the ‘Allbritton metro operation’ Category

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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I love the new name of the Washington metro news operation I joined in February: TBD. Click that link to read more.

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I have hired five of six people for our community engagement team. Loryn Wilson will be a community host, joining Jeff Sonderman, Lisa Rowan and Daniel Victor, whom I already announced. I also have hired Mandy Jenkins as social media producer. We’re still working on hiring the mobile producer.

A graduate of George Washington University, Loryn is a veteran blogger, both on black girl blogging and on the Women’s Rights blog for Change.org. She used to work for the Center for Progressive Leadership, where colleagues say she guided more experienced staff members through unfamiliar social media waters. She served on the social media team for Becky’s Fund, an organization assisting survivors of domestic violence. She has been a panelist for programs discussing social media and digital communication.

I cringed when Laura McGann of the Nieman Journalism Lab quoted me Wednesday as saying that I’d have five of my community engagement jobs filled by the end of the week. Yeah, I had said it in a confident moment when she interviewed me Tuesday. But when I read it, I wasn’t sure I could actually get the hiring done. But with Loryn’s acceptance, our team is nearly complete.

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It may take a while for me to learn to call Daniel Victor, my newest staff member, Dan. I’ve followed him on Twitter so long that I just think of him as @bydanielvictor.

Dan’s the latest recruit to the Allbritton Communications metro news operation (which Jim Brady says will have a name soon, perhaps today). (more…)

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I am delighted to welcome Mandy Jenkins of the Cincinnati Enquirer to our community engagement staff as social media producer.

Mandy helped me by long distance a year ago when I led a Twitter webinar for the American Society of News Editors. So I think it was appropriate that I received her email accepting my job offer during the final day of this year’s ASNE convention. (more…)

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Update: Since posting this, I have also hired Mandy Jenkins and Daniel Victor.

I got scooped on my own announcement. And I couldn’t be happier.

Over the last few days, I reached agreements with Jeff Sonderman and Lisa Rowan to take the first two positions on our community engagement team. As they were giving notice to current employers, I was notifying other candidates for the jobs. I asked Jeff and Lisa not to spread the word generally until I finished telling the other candidates. By the time I finished doing that, I was starting a full day of meetings and interviews (I have four more positions to fill). (more…)

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I see I will be having a new colleague soon.

Voice of San Diego is hiring an Engagement Editor, which sounds a lot like my title, Director of Community Engagement. Whenever the position is filled, I will start networking with this new colleague. Maybe a couple more and we can form an association (FREE, Federation of Real Engagement Editors?) and start holding conventions. Any others out there I should be networking with already? Do social media editors count? (A Nieman Lab post says the San Diego job is more than social media, but I guess most social media editors would say that about their jobs, too.) (more…)

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One of the exciting things about my new job is that we’re going to try some things that haven’t been done before. We’re going to try some things that haven’t been done before on the scale we’re doing them. We’re going to try different ways of doing things journalists have been doing for years.

So when I hire people to work on my community engagement team, I am as interested in the possibilities they see as the experience they bring. To the extent that I care about experience, I want to know how a job candidate has blazed new trails more than hearing about traditional newsroom experience. (more…)

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User experience is critical to the success of a business.

As I work on community engagement plans for a startup Washington metro news operation, I know that the user experience we provide will determine our success. We need to give users the news they want. We need to help users engage with us and each other in meaningful and fun ways. They need to enjoy spending time with us and tell their friends they should spend time with us.

If they don’t enjoy spending time with us and don’t find our content useful, or if they find their time with us annoying or unpleasant, no amount of excuses or rules will make that experience right.

As if to underscore the importance of user experience, Mimi and I have been having some horrible user experiences lately with United Airlines and the U.S. Postal Service. (more…)

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I was too busy yesterday enjoying beautiful spring weather, a beautiful baby granddaughter and exciting NCAA basketball to join a lively Twitter discussion of anonymous comments.

One of the primary discussants (it wasn’t combat, but it was pretty vigorous) was Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, who blogged about the topic (and has a link to a search string that pulls much of the discussion together). Steve Yelvington also blogged on the topic, noting that an ounce of leadership is worth a pound of management.

They summarize the issue well in detail, so I will summarize more broadly (and, admittedly, oversimplify) here:

One side (led on Twitter yesterday by Howard Owens) argues that anonymous comments inevitably become ugly and you have a more civil, responsible online discussion if you require people to participate by their real, verified names, as newspapers have always done in letters to the editor.

The other side (led by Ingram) embraces the freewheeling discussion of the anonymous comments, noting that responsible moderation of and engagement with the conversation can rein in (or remove) the ugliest exchanges, while keeping debate lively and honest. Without anonymity, whistleblowers are less likely to join the discussion, they rightly note (and the other side will rightly note that the anonymous bigots way outnumber the anonymous whistleblowers in story and blog comments). And besides, don’t we sometimes want to know how ugly people can be? (more…)

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Each time I take a new job, I think it’s going to be my last move.

I thought that when I came to The Gazette and gazetteonline as editor, and I thought that about the previous job and the one before that. And … well, a lot of jobs in the newspaper business.

My next job won’t be in the newspaper business. The news business, yes, but not the newspaper business. (more…)

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