My newsroom feels like it’s gone back in time about two years when I was really struggling to get everyone on board with social media stuff. I can’t remember the last time someone grabbed our spiffy Zi8 to grab some video of a breaking story, or hell, I can’t remember when I last had regular news updates for the web without asking for them or finding them myself.
We had a brief period of excitement when it looked like we might be able to finagle a couple of Droids for newsroom use and I had visions of live tweets from pressers and games and breaking stories. I had fantasies of reporters who finally had that big old light bulb go off when they saw how much their work is enhanced by using a Droid and how effective Twitter is at communication.
Well that got squashed pretty quickly in corporate red tape and well, we have no droids and my newsroom is once again too busy getting their stories in for print (and web, often as an afterthought) to fuss with Twitter. I’m back at square one and it’s killing me pretty good. I just don’t know if I can handle starting at the bottom of the hill again. I’m like the Sisyphus of Social Media. And in the meantime, I see our competitors leaving us in the dust because they’ve embraced it.
Let me just say here that I believe the staff here is phenomenally talented at what they do, and have been doing for years. They’ve got experience, great contacts in the community, they’re creative and they are some of the best. I just wish I could find a way that isn’t patronizing or insulting to reach them and switch on that light bulb so that they see what I’m trying to give them is another way to enhance their work, their careers, and at the same time, make a lot of it easier. I want to help, but instead I feel sometimes that I’m seen as a brick wall they can’t be bothered to climb.
Having said that, we still need a solution to the problem of regularly updated content for the web. We still need to be using Twitter and Facebook and Storify and every tool we can get our hands on to make my newspaper THE place to get your local news.
To that end, we’ve been kicking around the idea of just sending me out with the reporters to do that stuff. It makes sense in a, “Why didn’t we think of that before?” kind of way. We’re not going to change minds in the newsroom by constantly hammering away at them. Ever been lectured by a parent? Ever tuned them out while they lectured? That’s what happens in a newsroom – well mine at least. So let’s just do it ourselves. I’ve been live-tweeting stuff for years. I can juggle my iPhone, various apps (hello AudioBoo!), cameras and finesse wi-fi in the strangest places. So let’s stop moaning about a newsroom that doesn’t “get it” and just show them. They can still whip out their pencils and digital recorders and write their stories when they get back, and meanwhile, I’ll have continual updates going out instantly, and then Storify them when *I* get back.
I will either piss off my comrades, or they will get to see how this stuff works in action and maybe have a light bulb moment.
I work as the Web Editor and Social Media Coordinator for the Grand Island Independent, in Nebraska, which is owned by the Omaha World Herald.
~ Journalism allows its readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers an opportunity to live it. ~ John Hersey
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