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Find the time

October 27, 2010 3 comments

Think about how much time we spend telling others–or ourselves–what little time we have.

“There’s not enough time in the day.”

“Time is running out.”

“Time is money.”

How about this one?

“There is time for everything.”

That one came from Thomas Edison, a guy who found time to innovate.

The other day, I complimented one of our former reporters on finally adopting Twitter for work.

This same reporter, despite being something like a decade younger than me, once claimed to be “old-school” when I criticized her for not tweeting from the scene of a story. She didn’t have time. She had to get video. Old-school, indeed.

My field isn’t the only one requiring rapid induction into the “new school.” It’s changing everywhere. And the amount of available time is the same.

Edison was right. We have to prioritize and be good time-managers. We already know this, yet so many resist when it comes to technology and their jobs.

Heck, my young, old-school reporter is even tweeting now. Imagine the following she’d have in her new, bigger market if she had taken the time to develop those skills way back when.

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Categories: Blogtober, news, Social Media, TV

Does your journalism school do this?

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another reason I’m so proud to be a Missouri grad: Jen Lee Reeves‘ “Real World Homecoming Lunch.”

It’s such a great opportunity for alumni to meet with soon-to-be graduates and share insight about the “real world” of our business outside the comfort of j-school.

I’m thankful Jen pulls this thing together every year and invites us all to participate. Oh, I’m also thankful for the Shakespeare’s Pizza she feeds us.

Photo courtesy: Kelly Hicks

Teaching Twitter

October 14, 2010 6 comments

We’ve dabbled, but not yet fully committed to using Twitter as a reporting tool at KQTV.

William Seay, Bridget Blevins and Luana Muñoz working with Tweetdeck

William Seay, Bridget Blevins and Luana Muñoz working with Tweetdeck

Today, we tackled Twitter as a team.

We’ve had a station account, @kq2, for a while. But doing it right calls for more than that.

The goal now is for our reporters to bring their individual personalities and conversations to Twitter.

Ariane Jenkins works with Twitter on the iPhone and on the web.

Ariane Jenkins works with Twitter on the iPhone and on the web.

Our reporters will now focus on using Twitter to share updates before, during and after they cover their stories for the day. They’ll also turn to our viewers–or followers, in Twitter parlance–for new story ideas and continued discussion of already-published stories.

If you’re active on Twitter, I’d like to ask you a favor. Follow our team on Twitter and help me to help encourage them on their new, exciting journey.

Special thanks to Kelly Hicks for her feedback on Twitter training.

Finding new ways to tell the same story

October 13, 2010 1 comment

You know that news story you see done the same way every year?

Whether you’re part of the audience or the person telling the story, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

As news managers, how do we help new reporters tell these stories in new, interesting ways?

A group of high school sophomores may have helped me find the answer.

Gregg Lynn at My Success Event

K-Jo 105.5's Gregg Lynn at "My Success Event"

It happened while I was representing my station at an event where students get to explore different career “pathways,” called “My Success Event.” Basically, they learn what they need to do between now and the real world to become an accountant, a firefighter, a reporter, whatever.

I was explaining to a small group how important a good headline and photo are to get someone to click into a story.

“How can we write a good headline?,” one of them asked me.

I asked them to tell me the stories they were working on. They got really excited about “the docudrama.”

I laughed, because every year, I see us doing this story. It’s usually the new reporter. It’s always the same old thing: open with seemingly graphic video and a scary line, then let everyone know it’s not real…and fizzle out from there.

I laughed again because these high-school newspaper reporters were facing a problem that a new “real-life” TV-news reporter might face.

So, I asked, “Do you know someone at your school, or in your community that has been affected by a drunk-driving accident?”

Their first response was to interview a kid in their class who had been an actor in the docudrama.

“What about someone who has seen this in real-life?,” I asked.

“Sam’s mom is an EMT,” one of them said.

Perfect.

So, I recommended they tell two stories as one; parallel the story of their friend acting in the docudrama with the one of the EMT who has actually experienced this horror in real life.

The light bulbs clicked on. At least one reporter was born, I’m pretty sure.

It made me want to look at all these stories that we do year-in, year-out and make a real effort to reinvent rather than recycle.

Funny thing is, we figured out the story, but never wrote the headline. I hope I get to see what they decide on.

Preaching to the choir about news and social media engagement

October 12, 2010 2 comments

I had an interesting conversation with Joy Mayer last week. She’s a fellow with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, or RJI, charged with the project of studying audience engagement.

Mayer also works as the Columbia Missourian‘s design editor and as an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

We talked about two of her recent blog posts: one on the measurement of engagement and one on how the nonprofit world’s “ladder of engagement” can be applied to online news.

Social media engagement is exactly what allows me to have conversations like this with people like Joy Mayer. The combination of new communication channels, open discussion and a community of learner-teachers creates many great discussions and new ideas.

It’s easy for like-minded people charged with similar tasks to agree with each other, but what happens when we hit the road, evangelizing about our ideas on the future of news?

It’s simple: some get it, some don’t. I wish we had more of the former than the latter in the news business.

I’ve been around just long enough to know no glory days and to have experienced cutbacks. But I’ve also been around long enough to know we’re in an exciting time where we have a chance to reshape journalism and write its story of survival.

I’ve worked with reporters who want to listen, learn and adapt. Maggie Crane is one of them. In school, she learned how to do TV news as it was then. In the real world, she learned that sometimes you will shoot an entire series on an iPhone, even though it’s jammed with big names like Albert Pujols and David Letterman.

I’ve also worked with those who don’t see the value in changing their reporting mindsets. They usually end up getting out of the business.

I wish more of them would join the choir instead.

Categories: Blogtober, news, Social Media, TV