Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Helping Journalists Thrive, Network, And Collaborate On The Web

In a thought provoking article, the blog Publisher2 raises the issue about the impact that digitisation is having on reporters, editors and photographers. They raise the point that the journalist who used to call up some sources, rewrite a press release and file it on a news desk for the print edition will now find themselves writing a blog, moderating and editing a community of contributors. The editors and photographers will also move from staffers to more part-time and freelance resource.

The article raises many interesting points such as retraining versus rehiring. An interesting quote, ‘… media companies have traditionally not invested in people, they don’t invest in management training programs, they don’t invest in any kind of training of people…It’s a talent industry, so it’s like ‘if you’re not good enough when you get here, you’re out!’ You swim or die, and they don’t treat their people that well. They don’t invest in human capital.”

It summarises that ‘Journalists can no longer be many steps removed from the means of production and distribution — this type of hands on Web experience needs to become part of what defines a journalist’s skill set. While I still maintain that every journalist should start a blog, creating another outlet for original content creation is still a high bar.’

Book publishing is experiencing the same changes as newsprint. Digitisation isn’t just about eBooks, blogs, audiobooks etc these are merely the finished product. It is about changing the total publishing process from author to reader, about how we acquire rights, develop them, promote and market and ultimately sell them. This must mean that the organisational impact both in structure and skills must also change and this is probably the biggest adjustment and challenge to many today.