Wave your nerd flag high

Will Sullivan of Journerdism and the Palm Beach Post gets the Bryan Murley IM interview treatment over at Innovation in College Media.

In a wide-ranging interview (heh…) Sullivan offers a bit more advice than we usually get from his linkblogging, although the studied eye should be able to find the wisdom in the snark, as always.

Will’s take on some of the oft-raging newspaper video debate points:

“So the issue I’m much more concerned about is the lack of proper training, editing and opportunities for people to take gear out and fail. Failing while shooting and editing is part of the learning process. We need to realize that and allow staff resources to be devoted to it. I’ve seen so much reporter video that is a great effort but shouldn’t see the light of day. I’ve also seen lots of ‘high end’ video that really needs a re-edit.”

He and I often differ on this sort of stuff, but I think this is an important part of the answer to the question that goes something like “Should we buy expensive cameras and train photographers to shoot video or buy cheap point-and-shoots and throw them at reporters?”

On both fronts: Train, try, fail, learn, repeat.

That includes the big shots shooting HD and the young guns grabbing a tiny P&S on the way to the crime scene. Don’t get caught up in listening to the bunch of photographers and pundits telling you what’s best, just go out there with whatever gear you have available and give it a try, no matter what your role is at your paper.

More wise words along those lines from Will on what to do while you’re in college:

“The point is, while you’re in school: DIY! Get your hands dirty in everything. Play with it. Understand it. And then specialize in the areas that you really have a natural talent.”

Exactly. Don’t wait around for your school to develop an Online Journalism track or a Django for Non-Programmers class. Find a good blog or a good book on the topic of your choice and woodshed on that sucker until you come out with either a finished product or a failure that leads you to the next project. Sitting on your hands waiting for the Magic Professor to come along won’t get you a job anywhere.

Read the whole interview and think about how you can get your hands dirty with a new technology today. As for me, I’ve got an easy project in the works that should help our paper practice a tiny slice of some of what I preach here on a regular basis.

2 thoughts on “Wave your nerd flag high”

  1. It’s sadly ironic that in seeking to discourage use of the phrase “in a wide-ranging interview” I’ve only compelled people to throw it back in my face. If you write “to be sure,” I’ll be forced to revoke your blogging license.


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