Wired Journalists in 2008: Were you in it to win?

Howard “yes, he’s my boss” Owens follows up on the December 2007 post that spawned Wired Journalists with an update as the year grinds to a burly, overwhelming close. (Well, it’s been that way the last couple weeks for me, at least.)

Howard asks how wired you’ve become in 2008:

The post stirred a lot of conversation, but I only heard from a couple of reporters who were taking on the MBO program.  I’ve not heard back on progress from any of them in months.

Editors John Robinson in Greensboro and Linda Grist Cunningham in Rockford set up similar programs for their newsrooms.  Robinson, I know, rewarded at least two staff members for completing his list of “get wired” goals.

Of course, Howard framed this as an “MBO program” and to me, it’s always going to be more organic and harder to track than any checklist with accountability, so here’s my completely anecdotal analysis:

  • More journalists are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking and reporting tools to connect with their peers, sources, and readers.
  • More journalists are learning multimedia skills, whether it’s as simple as point-and-shoot video or as complicated as XML-to-Flash.
  • More journalists are getting curious about what all this new media talk is all about, even if that just means they’re curious enough to sign up for Wired Journalists (where there are now more than 3,000 members) and lurk.
  • All of this is good.

What about you?  How do you think journalists, in general, are doing at adopting (and adapting to) new technology? 

If Howard were to re-write his post for next year, what should the objectives for a wired journalist be in 2009?

Carnival of Journalism: Five positive predictions for new media in 2009

For this month’s Carnival of Journalism, Dave Cohn is asking for positive (if possible) predictions for the new media world of 2009.

How about 5?

  1. Mobile video streaming goes mainstream: Probably tied to disaster/breaking news reporting from non-professionals, a la 9/11 blogs, the YouTube tsunami of 2004, Flickr bombings of 2005, and the livetweeted siege of #Mumbai in 2008.  Whether it’s the expansion of a startup like Qik or Flixwagon or a wildcard like an improved iPhone with a real video camera, something is going to change in 2009 that’s going to put live mobile video at our fingertips.
  2. Fewer newspaper jobs means more local news startups:  As major metro news organizations continue to contract, consolidate, and implode, more journalists will walk away from the press, but not walk away from reporting.  Right now, most of this is happening at the national level (think: Politico) or in local blogs, but as more entrepreneurial journalists leave the “industry,” more of them will start small businesses of their own, reporting on their neighborhoods.
  3. Local news organizations will continue to improve at being “of” the Web and not just “on” it:  Yep, that means more newspapers (and local TV stations) on Twitter, blogging, livechatting, streaming video, participating in comment threads, and generally getting in gear — though still perhaps far behind the pace of Internet time.  This seems obvious enough, although as a media critic, if all you’re looking at is a selection of major metro papers, you’re not going to see the changes as clearly as readers — or participants in the news site’s social web — will see them.
  4. Alternative business models for monetizing journalism will flourish: There are plenty of ideas kicking around already on this front, although few of them are coming from traditional news organizations.  That won’t matter, because people with ideas for solving the riddle of funding quality journalism without the revenue of a standard daily print product are already having success.
  5. Crowdsourcing tools will evolve on the backs on existing platforms: I’m thinking DocumentCloud plus Twitter or Facebook, or some similar combination that lets a large news organization with a large social network power through large documents (think: US Attorney firings data dump analysis at Talking Points Memo, but with a much bigger crowd and structured data instead of a comment thread.)

And of course, a bonus prediction:

  • Major newspapers and huge newspaper companies will continue to consolidate, sputter, fail, and close — but it won’t matter.  The people formerly known as readers will be too busy informing each other about their world to notice.

So, got any predictions of your own for 2009? (Remember, we’re trying to keep it positive…)