Steve Buttry, director of community engagement and social media for the Journal Register Co., is writing a series of valuable blog posts about Digital First journalism. Today’s entry is titled “10 ways to think like a Digital First journalist.”
I love lists. I think they work very well to get the attention of busy people who are trying to prioritize a crazy day. And I think Buttry’s list today is pure gold. It’s definitely worth a read.
Here are my favorite points of the 10:
- A Digital First journalist views a story as a process, not a product.
(My take: Yes, yes, yes. The old way, the way we all learned, is about an assembly line. A story is conceived, created, packaged and distributed, like any product. And then the workers move on to the next product. But today, thanks to a 24-hour publishing and distribution tool that anyone on staff can access, a story is really only a starting point for a conversation. If we can’t break the habit of publishing and walking away to the next thing, we won’t be able to compete in the new media arena. This means updating constantly; adding links and related information, including the work of others; engaging with the commenters on the website and on social media; looking for videos or photos or graphics to enhance the package, etc.)
- When a Digital First journalist hears a great quote or an interesting fact, he thinks: “I better Tweet that.”
(My take: This might be the single most important habit we should cultivate. This seems simple but really marks an entirely new approach to the job. Twitter is the ultimate sharing and collaboration tool for journalists. Thinking about Twitter first changes the entire equation of reporting.)
- When a Digital First journalist learns of a new gadget or social tool, he starts trying to figure out how to use it to do better journalism.
(My take: One of the biggest obstacles to the digital transition in traditional newsrooms is a lack of interest in — or downright fear of — new technologies. The digital desk, which in many newsrooms is only a handful of people, is expected to provide information and training and expertise on all technologies. But the days of a “support desk” for technology are long gone. Journalists who will succeed in the new dawn will take responsibility for the tools of their trade and not wait for others to do that work for them.)