Think of the evolution of job titles in local news over the last few years: out goes “studio camera operator,” in comes “robotics camera operator.” I guess there was a specific title for the guys who developed the film (“footage,” as the interns still call it), a job long gone before I showed up on the local newser scene, and now we have “ingest coordinators.” And at WUSA/DC, they have a “Digital Development Director,” in the form of tech savvy Patrick O’Brien. And please, stay on his good side by not suggesting that he’s the guy who runs Channel 9’s website. How 1990s of you. No. He’s the Main Man of Multimedia at Gannett’s flagship, which made major local newser news by becoming the first big-city station in the country to go all video journalist, ending the era of two-person field crews.
Newslab‘s Deborah Potter, ever at the cutting edge of local news evolution, has a timely profile and, naturally, an embedded video interview with O’Brien, on her spinoff site, advancingthestory. It’s worth a look if you’re interested to see how the future is playing out now in DC, and believe me, whether your newsroom Twitters yet or not, your managers and corporate types are watching O’Brien and recently hired WUSA News Director (oh, silly me.. what a 2003 job title… he’s the VP/Information Center) Lane Michaelsen to see how the new vision works.
Oh, and if you’re already in the Twitterverse, add O’Brien. He’s a good one to follow.