I’m exactly as pompous as I sound. No more, no less.

If, for any reason, you can’t get enough of me prattling on and on about the future of newspapers in text, you can enjoy 33 minutes of me getting interviewed by Cameron Reilly, who apparently is the king of all podcasting in Australia.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard me say all this stuff before, but you can have the pleasure of hearing me nose-breath through the first three things on that list I made until Cameron cues me to pull the mic back. (Now I know what Hugh was doing wrong on all those Gillmor Gangs).

A few references I made in the podcast and one correction:

This was lots of fun – Cameron puts together a great podcast – check out G’day World and the rest of the shows at The Podcast Network.

The best thing about being on a team…

…is that you don’t have to do everything yourself.

That’s what I’m finally learning after 3.5 months at my new job. Everyone has a specialty, and the best thing you can do is let everyone do what they do best, whether it’s design, code, manage, write, shoot, edit, record, or evangelize.

I spent my lunch hour today forgetting to eat while having a cup of coffee with Chris Jordan, a photographer and multimedia specialist out of Montana who’s in the Bay Area right now. (Hint: Hire him.)

We compared notes on what’s going on in online news, and it definitely reminded me that we all have our own skill sets, and newsrooms are looking for journalists who can do any one of the things we specialize in.

The task for j-schools, of course, is to teach every journalism student at least ONE of the following skills:

  • Multimedia: Video and audio recording and editing, plus any Flash skills at all. This gets you hired.
  • Interactivity: Know everything about blogs, and think about how to manage and moderate commenting systems, forums, and community sites. This gets you hired.
  • Data: Be a wizard with Excel at the least, maps mashups if possible, and Django if you want to go further down the rabbit hole. This gets you hired.

If you’re in school and you’re not taking a class where you’re learning at least one of these things, start teaching yourself now. Get a blog and start reading blogs about new media and the Web. Experiment. Learn.

Knowing how to do nothing but report and write gets you hired … as a freelancer.

I covet your WordPress 2.1

So WordPress 2.1 is out, and it comes with some great new features, but if you’re like me, and you run a few outdated plugins and have hacked up your templates based more on instinct than actual coding knowledge, things might not go quite as planned.

I’m not paranoid, I’m just not going to continue hacking this template in order to get it in shape to upgrade.

Instead, I’m doing all my plugin and theme compatibility testing on the page where I’m working out a redesign, ever so slowly.

If, of course, you’re not like me, and you’ve kept all your plugins and themes freshly updated with the newest releases and been a good little doobie and not crufted your code into submission — hey, go nuts, upgrade, enjoy the spellcheck, the autosave, and the far-slicker file uploading from the Write page.

I’ll be over here hacking away at my redesign in between six other projects. And work. And that thesis I’m “writing.”

Don’t get wrapped up in the ‘so-called pajama media’

In this wide-ranging interview with Bryan Murley of Innovation in College Media, Gatehouse Media’s Howard Owens points out what I battle through in conversations with both journalism school faculty and students over and over again:

ICM: Which leads a little bit into my next question … The online media universe has been changing dramatically over the last two years. What parts of that change do you think are most crucial for student journalists to comprehend?

Owens: Blogging and video. I don’t think many people grasp how much we can learn from blogging about how the way people consume information is changing. Those wrapped up in the Packaged Goods Media paradigm only see the so-called pajama media, and aren’t paying attention to what the real attraction to blogging is: authenticity of voice, relevance of subject, frequency of publishing, ease of consumption.

And then with video, a lot of the same applies, but visually, which has it’s own draw and engagement. [Emphasis mine, link Bryan’s]

Blogs aren’t just about politics, folks. Go find a blog about something you like, and read it. Click on the links, look over the blogroll, find out who else links to that blog, leave comments, sound off, and eventually, you’ll want one of your own. When you do, try Blogger or WordPress out – they’re both free and easy. Get started.

I dreamt I was in a social media class…

…and the textbook was the Henry Jenkins book which has been sitting relatively uncracked on my bedside shelf for a couple months now.

Does that mean I’m supposed to read it, or that the Mass Communications program at school should have a social media class?

Luckily, I don’t have time to think about that. I have a new job title starting today, so I should try to get to work on time. Wish me luck.

(Jenkins’ blog is here. )

Surprises/No Surprises

Back from vacation and the first day back at the office, here are a few quick reviews and observations:


  • Casino Royale: Best Bond ever? Maybe. Certainly a re-invention of the formula, with actual character development and relationships. Frankly, it was awesome. I was marking out the whole time. “OMG he ordered the drink for the first time.” And there was poker — a bit of a modernization from the old Baccarat days, but I’m sure it got the attention of casual ESPN2 viewers such as myself.
  • Firebug: If you’re making any sort of attempt at all to learn anything about CSS and designing/developing pages for the Web, this is the Firefox extension for you. Stop acting like you don’t think you need it and download the thing now.

No Surprises

  • Transcending CSS: Because I have yet to meet a CSS book that I don’t like, it was no surprise to find Andy Clarke’s book a useful and attractive tool and point of reference. He explains how to do a bunch of simple stuff that I figured could be done, plus provides essential bits of workflow organization for those of us new to the business of design, but not necessarily the act of designing.
  • Star-Tribune sold: Knight Ridder was a big whale to swallow, so it’s no shocker to see McClatchy selling off some pieces of their kingdom for cold hard cash. Good luck, Minneapolis.