A refresher for those of you who weren’t taking notes: An informal poll on what I should learn next (March 10, 2007).
Apparently, that was six months ago. Yikes.
So after everyone weighed in, multimedia storytellers voting for Flash, programmers voting for programming, and executives voting for business-sense, more or less, I said I would learn Flash.
Right. I gave it another shot, I made the ball move across the screen, I checked out lots of great journalism presented in Flash packages, and I moved on.
It’s fun and all, don’t get me wrong, but it just doesn’t have the same return on time invested for me as other projects does. I enjoy making things move across the screen, but much more than that, I like knowing when to put a reporter, photographer, and a designer together to make things move across the screen.
Which brings me to what I’ve really been learning, every day on the job in a newsroom: Management.
No, not the suit-and-tie motivational poster sort of management, but the same sort of thing I’ve always done in groups of friends and colleagues: Put the right ideas and the right people together and the motivation will take care of itself.
And so, I’ve been learning by dealing with reporters, photographers, editors, managers, developers and designers every single day to get things done. A graduate-level class or an MBA or something of that sort would be nice, but really, there’s simply no time for that.
On the more practical, you-could-learn-this-too, side of things, I’ve continued to hack the heck out of WordPress code for a couple projects — one for work and one for school. With any luck, both will make it out into the open Web soon.
But working in WordPress is an awesome way to learn some bits of PHP and database logic without staring too long into the abyss of things like regular expressions. Plus, there’s the added sport of finding the hunks of code you’re looking for, monitoring what’s bubbling up in the active distributed community of developers and designers building on WordPress, and constantly tweaking functionality and design based on what you find.
And there’s nothing on this short list of things I’ve been learning that isn’t going to come in remarkably handy, quite soon.