Media Ain’t Dying, Just Changing

Via Laura Rich at Recessionwire:

“Journalism and writing jobs are not going away, but thanks to the recession, they’re undergoing a swift, head-spinning transformation, and the profession’s new iteration will take some hard work.”

Some of Rich’s lessons for “old-school journalists follow, with our thoughts:

  • Identify Your Expertise. The era of the generalist journalist is pretty much over. Expertise comes at a premium, and writers who want that premium should find some ideas and threads to get behind—and promote the hell out of.
    We say: Sad but true. At Jay Rosen’s blogging chat last week, the man responded to a GA reporter* who didn’t know what to blog about on her personal blog: “I think for a GA reporter the only kind of blog I would recommend is “the breaking news blog,” which USA Today pioneered with its On Deadline blog. Otherwise, I think newspaper blogs should be topic centered.” And a breaking news blog is easily, easily replicated (by HuffPo, by basically anyone with a computer and an RSS reader). The only way to succeed is to find a niche and dig in.
  • Crowdsource. This concept builds on the idea of “transparency,” but it refers specifically to actively seeking participation in the development of your story. Take advantage of the efficiencies the Internet provides by sending out parts of your story to your following, as Business Week writer Stephen Baker did for one of his stories: He published the first sentence of each paragraph on his feed and let his followers help him fill in the ideas, according to John Byrne, executive editor of BusinessWeek.com, speaking at the conference.
    Sounds gimmicky, but if the gimmick drives traffic, why not give it a try?
  • Use Self-Service. The Internet currently offers several tools to practically automate the reporting process. HelpAReporterOut.com is one channel for posting your request for sources. Spot.us is a site that helps raise money for your ideas.
    Neither of these sites are perfect; they both have some serious limitations at the moment, but they are resources that every journalist should know about whether or not s/he uses them.
  • There’s more at the original post.

    *In the interest of transparency, that GA reporter was your favorite careers blogger. Despite having spent months now digging through Bureau of Labor Statistics and SHRM reports, I still feel like a GA reporter with a specialty in careers, not a careers blogger who can branch out to other topics if necessary. Maybe it’s time that mindset changed.