If you haven’t read the blog post by former Kingston Daily Freeman reporter Steve Earley on the Ben Franklin Project it’s surely worth a read. Steve highlights some of the stories sites tackled but, more importantly, offers insight into what must happen for the change to continue.
His comments about Twitter should be noted not just by JRC sites but by all media outlets who continue to use Twitter as a mirror of the one-way delivery method.
Here’s the highlights. (Read the full post here)
- It will require a firm technical and strategic grasp of the tools used to produce today’s editions. Employees, who had just over a month to learn many of the free tools they used, are by their own admission still getting the hang of pagination program Scribus. Microblogging service Twitter, meanwhile, is of greatest value to news organizations when they use it to converse with audience members and sources (two-way/pull/new-media thinking), yet many JRC papers use their Twitter feeds only to push out links to their stories (one-way/push/old-media thinking).
- More than anything, it will require a bottom-up embrace of the digital-first, innovation culture Paton is evangelizing. No print-versus-Web, us-versus-them, that’s-not-part-of-my job whining.
- It will require abandoning these tools at the drop of a hat and learning new ones as better alternatives come along.
- It will require engaging audience members — meeting them on the platforms they’re already using or educating them about the platforms they should be using — to the point they don’t have to be persuaded to participate.
- It will require not letting the new way of doing things disrupt what was right about the old way. As empowering as they are, interactive tools are a complement to thorough, old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting, not a replacement for it.