Great technology tips for journalists and anyone else

January 27, 2008

So, I joined The Wired Journalist, a cool ning social network for journalists. While there I stumbled upon this link in some lady's blog to a post for journalists feeling like dinasours. Great tips for journalists and even if you aren't an online lover or your job wont one day be at stake because you dont have web skills, these are some great tips and ways to stay up to speed:

*Become a blogger. Start with a favorite topic. For example, if you’re a baseball fan, start with baseball. Find all of the baseball-related blogs you can and become a regular reader of five or six of the best of these blogs. Participate — leave comments; follow links. After three months of blog reading, start your own blog on that topic. Try to post daily for at least six months. For blog topics, avoid anything related to your beat or politics. (See, we got this, more than likely you have your own blog if you are reading mine, and I do thank you for reading)

*Buy a small digital camera that can take both stills and video. Open an account with a photo sharing site such as Flickr or Buzznet. Take photos and post them. If necessary, use some online tutorials for digital photography. (Check! My blog header, when Carlton wasted the pitcher of ice in my fab Hibachi steak, not the best memory but proof we're using those digital cameras )
With the same camera, make at least three videos. Use the free video editing software that comes with your computer and edit those videos. Post them to YouTube and at least one other video sharing site. There are plenty of online tutorials for shooting and editing video. Your goal here isn’t to make great video, just to learn what is involved in making video so you have the capability in your online journalism tool bag. (hmm, why not? Look at the guy I love with the 'Leave Britney Alone' video now in a major motion picture)
Related to video, spend at least two hours a week for six weeks on YouTube. Search for topics that interest you and then follow the trails where they lead. Pay attention to the daily most popular and see what other people are watching. Be sure to watch both amateur and professional video.

*Join a social networking site. Every professional should have a profile on LinkedIn, so make sure you do, also. You will get more DIY (the backbone of modern media) experience with MySpace, if you take full advantage of the site features. Do Facebook, too, but don’t neglect MySpace. (Ouch. I totally had neglected myspace and logged on today for the first time in over 3 months. They really have made some changes. They are so facebook-like now, but still not as cool. Ding on the other hand is the new hotness!! )

*Use social bookmarking. Set up del.icio.us for yourself and use it every day. Learn about tags. Check out Digg and Mixx and similar sites. If you can, get into Scott Karp’s Publish2 beta.
Start using RSS. Use RSS to keep up with the news of the day and the blogs you are now reading every day. Make sure your blog has an RSS feed. (Ok. I use google reader and have tried del.icio.us and will give the others a shot. )

*If your current mobile phone doesn’t handle SMS (text messaging), get one that does. SMS works best when you have friends who text, so figure out who those friends are (by now, you have them). For neophytes and gray hairs, a phone with a QWERTY keyboard (Treo, or iPhone) works best. Blackberrys aren’t great SMS handhelds because they mix SMS and e-mail together. (So I have a blackberry and have no idea what SMS texting means. hmmm. . .Ill get back to you)

*Learn to twitter. There is something to be said for learning how this technology may change information dissemination. (Sounds weird, twitter. Basically looks like a site with folks putting their facebook-like status all day )

*Create a Google Map mashup. If you don’t know what those are, google it. If you don’t know what to do or where to start, google it (hint: or you can search this site). There are plenty of tutorials available. It’s easy. All you need is a spreadsheet with appropriate data and enough smarts to follow step-by-step directions. (I heart Google Map! I almost feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report:)

After you’ve done these ten things, document what you’ve learned — write something, such as an essay to your editor or a blog post. Discuss how technology has changed media, and follow the string of where that change might lead. What will your job be like in 10 years? What will media be like in five? How will news reach young readers in a generation? Tomorrow?

(Boy is this the story of my life . . . )


  1. Elle* said...:

    This aspect of journalism is soooo darn exciting but at the same time bittersweet. One of the things I heart about my JOU program at school is that we are all about it. We are so pro-technology it's crazy but then again, they are trying to keep us relevant. Great post. I've been toying with the idea of starting another blog, as well. Anyway, Great post!

  1. Focused said...:

    so i couldnt resist the blogger temptation. and although i'm not puttin my name or my face on this jawn, i'm at least 50 percent sure you'll know who this after seeing this picture. lol.

  1. jameil1922 said...:

    oooh!! i like it! some good tips there.