Basic training: The right tool for the right desk

Mindy McAdams writes:

“I’m sometimes contacted by editors and journalism organizations who would like me to come and do some training for them. As I’m busy with my day job, my first question is always, ‘What do you want?'”

Thankfully, she goes on to give you, editor and/or journalism organization, an idea of where to start.

The bullet points:

  • Teach Flash to your print graphics people. They already know how to create an infographic, now show them how to make it dance.
  • Teach audio recording and Soundslides to your photographers. They already know how to tell a story, now show them how to make it sing. (I hope I can come up with a third layer for this metaphor cake I’m baking.)
  • Teach point & shoot video to your reporters. They already know how to gather information, now tell them how to make it onto the Most Viewed list at YouTube. (That didn’t go so well, the metaphor cake.)

There’s more to Mindy’s post, so read the whole thing.

As usual, I’ve got a something or two to add to the list:

  • Teach community management to the social connectors in your newsroom and get them involved in the message boards, blogs and community sites where you call for comment and beg for interaction from your readers. Seed those clouds.
  • Teach database software to the wonkiest, number-hungry reporter in your newsroom and encourage them to bust up those PDFs and reports all those state agencies send them into easily digestible chunks. Then talk to those guys on the graphics desk you taught Flash…

I know you can see it coming an 18-wheeler full of newsprint away, but here comes the call for comment.

What’s your A1 top priority right now for training in your newsroom?

I don’t care if you write for a tabloid, college paper, local placeblog, niche site, major metro, community newsletter, alt weekly, or the New York Times — What’s the one thing you wish your news site had more of?*

*(Other than sentences ending with prepositions.)

7 thoughts on “Basic training: The right tool for the right desk”

  1. Teach the concept of search engine optimization to the top dogs in the newsroom and how the quirky nature of the Web (Drudge, Fark, blogs) can skew those daily page views.

    Then teach the copy desk the nitty gritty of how certain keywords in headlines mixed with the Long Tail can generate readership for the Web site.


  2. Thanks, Mindy. It’s easy to start blogging editors off on community management by getting them to interact with the readers leaving comments on their blogs.

    Depending on how strong the local blogosphere is in your paper’s circ area, I’d say leaving comments on local blogs and posting to local forums is the next step.

    If your news org is lucky enough to have one of those newfangled community sites of its own, then you just need to hook up newsroom experts on things like movies, TV, local bands, local restaurants, and local hiking and camping with the category or group on your site.

    Give your experts some admin access to move stories up and down on the page, let them manage the comments on their section as necessary, and pitch the whole thing to them as an editorial function, where their jobs are to seed those local clouds to pull their counterparts (local experts who don’t work for the paper) into the community site.

    That seems like a good start to me.

    Does anyone reading this have any community management experience they want to weigh in with? Am I on the right track? What’s the biggest challenge in getting newsroomers involved?


  3. […] Invisible Inkling: Basic training: The right tool for the right desk Ryan Sholin looks at the skills that newsroom photographers, graphics artists and reporters need to learn. (tags: audio video data multimedia Journalism education flash community) […]


  4. Here, let me help you put the icing on that metaphor cake…”now tell them how to make it rise onto the Most Viewed list at YouTube.”

    I know, I know…but I couldn’t help myself!


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