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Posts Tagged ‘curation’

The gatekeeper days of journalism were fun. But they’re over. And they weren’t as good as we remember them.

In a Facebook discussion today, Arkansas State journalism professor Jack Zibluk wrote, “By abandoning the gatekeeper role, I believe you are abandoning the profession.”

I replied: “Jack, no one abandoned the gatekeeper role. It became irrelevant when the fences blew away.”

Jack asked me to elaborate:

If journalism and journalists are no longer gatekeepers, then what ARE we? Nobody I know of has made a cohesive explanation of what our role is any more in society.

I initially begged off, saying I might blog about gatekeepers in a week or two. But another gatekeeper discussion on Jack’s Facebook wall and an exchange of private Facebook messages prompted me to blog now.

I used to be a gatekeeper, the person who decided which of the many potential stories my reporters at the Des Moines Register and Kansas City Star and Times could do would become news back in the 1980s and early 1990s. As editor of the Minot Daily News, I had the final say on every news story for our North Dakota town (and let’s be honest: beyond breaking news, a newspaper editor largely is the gatekeeper for local TV stations, too). Keeping the gate was a serious responsibility: We got to decide what was news and what wasn’t, what was front-page news, what was an inside brief and what wasn’t worth our readers’ time at all. We had to decide when a story was vetted and verified enough to make it through the gate.  (more…)

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I will be leading workshops this week for The Gazette in Montreal. Here are links and slides I will be using in workshops:

We will discuss leading a digital-first newsroom. Here are slides for that workshop:

We will discuss the thinking and values of digital-first journalists. Here are slides for that workshop: (more…)

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A beat blog gives a newsroom a vehicle for providing in-depth coverage that the general-interest approach of a newspaper generally doesn’t allow.

I have decades of memories of arguments with editors (when I was a reporter) and with reporters (when I was an editor) about the reporters’ desire to tell stories in greater depth than the interest level of this mythical “typical” newspaper reader. A newspaper has finite space, and to tell the stories that serve this general-interest need of the masses, its reporters gather far more information that has appeal only in niches of people with keen interest in a particular topic.

Beat blogging is a way to serve that deeper level of interest, to use all the information a reporter gathers. It makes a newsroom’s content more valuable to the community, by serving the broad but shallow general interest and the narrow but deep niche interests.

I’ll be leading a workshop today for Digital First journalists in Connecticut on beat blogging. You can watch the livestream and ask questions on a live chat, starting at 3 p.m. Eastern time. You also can read about how the beat blog fits into the full work of a reporter in my earlier posts that addressed the work of reporters covering courts, sports, statehouses and other beats. Other helpful resources would be the BeatBlogging website (no longer active, but loaded with helpful advice and links), my Introduction to Reporting course for News University and my general blogging advice. I’m sure others have produced many other helpful resources. Please share some of those links in the comments.

I will try to compile a list of good current beat blogs, and I welcome your contributions to that list. Who are good reporters who blog regularly about their beats (don’t hesitate to suggest your own beat or someone on your staff)? But for now, I want to offer some basic advice for beat blogging. (more…)

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When I wrote about how a digital-first approach changes a journalist’s work, people asked for more examples.

In that initial post, I provided examples of how the approach would change the work of a court reporter, sports reporter, visual journalist, beat reporter and assigning editor. In response to a question from a colleague planning to hire a statehouse reporter, I blogged separately about how that reporter might work. On Twitter and in comments and emails, people asked me to explain how the digital-first approach might change the work of a business reporter, investigative reporter, lifestyle reporter and a reporter covering multiple beats.

Part of me wants to answer: You tell me. I haven’t been a business reporter in 20 years (though I have covered a few business stories since then). I was never a lifestyle reporter. A purpose of that blog post was to stimulate the discussion and experimentation of journalists so that you would answer those questions for yourselves and colleagues.

But more examples from me might stimulate more discussion and experimentation, so I’ll provide some answers, with this caveat: I’m not spelling out here how anyone should work. I’m suggesting things to consider as you decide how to work. Instead of going through each of the beats I was asked to address, as I’ve done with some of the others, I’ll list some questions and tasks any reporter should consider in working on any beat. I’ll answer them for some of the examples I was asked about, but the answers may be different for your beat. (more…)

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“Digital-first” means different priorities and processes for journalists.

As I’ve visited newsrooms discussing digital-first journalism, I’ve heard again and again from editors that they are “all in” for the digital emphasis. But in the next breath, some editors ask questions about what “digital-first” means for them and their newsrooms. They believe but they don’t fully understand.

Digital-first is way more than just publishing breaking news online and shooting video (though it involves both). Steve Yelvington explained:

Digital-first is about making the future your first priority, with everything that implies.

It requires restructuring all your priorities. Not just when you do it, but what you do and how you do it.

In a series of blog posts starting today, I will attempt to explain what those priorities mean.  (more…)

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I will be leading a workshop this afternoon for the National Newspaper Association on developing a culture of innovation.

I have already blogged about many of the topics we will be discussing in the workshop. Some links that will be helpful to workshop participants interested in following up (and others interested in changing their culture): (more…)

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Journalists hate few things more than buzzwords. Many of us regard ourselves as guardians of the language (as if protecting the First Amendment and being watchdogs of the powerful weren’t enough guard duties). Buzzwords feel to many purists as some kind of assault on the language.

Washington Post ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton writes scornfully of my pursuit in his column today:

This is what “engagement” — the buzzword of media theorists and marketers — is all about. It’s using Twitter and Facebook to build a tribe or family of followers, even disciples, who will keep reading you.

I won’t try here to set Pexton straight on what engagement is all about, though my earlier post explaining community engagement might educate him a bit. What I want to address here is the widespread dismissal of new terminology by my fellow veteran journalists.

(more…)

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