Tag Archives: advancing the story

Just Saying No to Social Media? That Could Hurt Your Local News Career

Need one more piece of evidence that knowing social media’s increasingly part of being in the media?  Well, Twitter-resister, listen up:  “Learn to organize and socialize,” writes Deborah Potter on her Advancing the Story blog.  Potter argues in a shrinking pool of local TV news jobs, people who have multimedia skills have the edge, no matter how good your walk-and-talk liveshots are:  “In the digital journalism context, it means knowing how to organize information from a variety of sources and how to push information out via social media, from Digg to Twitter and beyond.”

The Poynter Institute’s Joe Grimm says with so many experienced journalists competing for fewer and fewer jobs, the folks doing the hiring want that “something extra,” and the newsers who have it get the gigs:  “Increasingly, recruiters are looking for that X factor, X being for extra. What can you do in addition to your base skills? Can you make a slideshow, gather audio, shoot video? Can you help us grow?”

Mike Elgan:  Loves Twitter, Hates "Bad TV News"

Mike Elgan: Loves Twitter, Hates "Bad TV News"

And then there’s Mike Elgan’s argument:  social media, more and more, does news better than old media do:  “Almost every day, I take a break or two from my PC, where I’m constantly monitoring social media, and I check out CNN, MSNBC, and Fox news or, if it’s the right time of day, the network news on ABC, CBS and NBC. I’m always appalled by what I see on TV news. It’s pathetic.”

Elgan says local and cable newsers are trying social media, but not in ways that take advantage of the immediacy and power of the emerging social media platforms.  It’s worth a read.  And one more argument to at least go and get on Twitter.  With the other guy Twittering his brains out making connections and finding stories, you’re truly hurting yourself by sitting on the sidelines.

But hey.  Use your best judgment.

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Local News 2.0: Job Titles of the Future! (And the Future, Like it or Not, Is Now)

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.

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Fearing the Backpack? Here’s the Skinny on Going “DJ”

Longtime Backpacker Kevin Sites

Longtime Backpacker Kevin Sites


Yeah, sure, you can sit in the newsroom and bitch and moan with co-workers about how sure you are that “it’ll never happen here,” but odds are, the longer you stay in local tv news, the more likely it is that somebody at some point is going to hand you a small camera and laptop and ask you to do it all yourself. We used to call ’em one-man-bands, now you hear “multimedia journalist” or “digital journalist.” And it’s not just for small markets anymore. CNN calls them “all-platform” journalists, WNBC’s “Content Center,” of course, is modeled on the MMJ format, and WUSA in Washington used multimedia journalists on the biggest of big local stories: the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

NBC's Mara Schiavocampo

NBC's Mara Schiavocampo

Deborah Potter, whose NewsLab is mandatory daily reading, has a great piece up on advancingthestory (companion to the book of the same name) about how backpackers like NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo are getting the story–and getting themselves on franchise media titans like the NBC Nightly News. Even if the idea of it gives you sudden rush of thoughts like, “how bad could PR really be?” this post is worth a look.

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