LAT’s Andrew Malcolm: The Oldest Rookie of the Year

Here at FishbowlNY we are big fans of Andrew Malcolm the journalist-turned-blogger behind the LATimes political blog “Top of the Ticket.” We are also big fans of the idea that the ever growing online world of newspapers is not actually the end of journalistic integrity, nor is it somehow out the grasp of “old media.” So it was especially pleasing to see Malcolm, a former foreign correspondent and bureau chief at the New York Times as well as an editorial board member and feature writer for the Los Angeles Times, also aged 64 (ahem), get some attention over at PBS’s MediaShift, where he talks (for two hours “with the fervor of someone who has been reborn in his career”) about the transition.

One of the reasons I got into journalism was that I loved the tough stories. And in journalism, I thought I could learn something new every day…Looking back on it, newspapers became like a pharmacy. But over time there were other counters opening up and people didn’t want to take your medicine. To me, that’s exciting, but to a lot of my colleagues it’s very terrifying because you have to learn a lot of new things…Unpredictability was at the top of my list. And we had to be pretty well informed and well written, and Don and I had done a lot of that.
And then, much to our (and possibly Nick Denton’s enjoyment) Malcolm shatters the myth that reporters aren’t concerned with their own popularity.

Outside of my family, I’ve never witnessed seeing someone reading my story in print. So I’m looking at the numbers for my blog post, and for nearly seven hours, we had seven new readers arriving on our blog every second. I did an item, traffic exploded, and there were seven new people every second. When you tell that to a newspaper crowd, it’s like “Whoa!” it gets a reaction. I didn’t know about Technorati until January…There’s so much to learn.