2000 strong at Wired Journalists

So many milestones this week…

Here’s another one:  Wired Journalists now has more than 2000 members.

The Ning-powered social network that Howard Owens, Zac Echola, and I created back in January has exceeded our expectations, in terms of numbers, interaction, community, and the learning/teaching that’s going on there.

Plus, it’s really bringing some people out of the woodwork.

I’m talking about beatbloggers like Matt Neznanski and Web staff from smaller papers, like Carlos Virgen from Walla-Walla.

Jay Rosen has been talking about using Wired Journalists as a pool of talent to find reporters and editors and bloggers like Matt and Carlos as they bubble up to the surface of the network, and I’m excited about the possibilities.

We created Wired Journalists to connect the non-wired with the wired, to give everyone a place to speak freely about online news and experimentation on the Web, as it’s happening in newsrooms around the world.

I think what we’ve learned, in the first 120 days and 2000 members, is that not only are there thousands of journalists out there ready to improve their craft and expand their skillset, but that journalism is alive and well around the world, in all demographic groups.

In recent days, I’ve seen members at Wired Journalists from Iran, I’ve seen a French version of the network, I’ve seen high school journalism students join the network to extend their education, and I’ve seen entire television news staffs join up over the course of a day or two. (What’s up, Topeka?)

So, thank you.

Thank you for answering the call to join Wired Journalists and thank you for helping each other learn about what’s next for journalism.

The good stuff is over there –>

If you prefer my tweets and shared reader bits and delicious links to the infrequent and sometimes long-winded content here at what passes for a blog, click on through from that reader of yours and take a look at the right side of your screen. (Actually, let me check that in a few browsers first… OK, we’re cool.)

You’ll find a stream of links, and some other stuff that was buried a bit lower until a few minutes ago.

Enjoy.

(Thanks to the folks at SimplePie, especially for the WordPress plugin. It. Is. Rather. Simple.)

Six questions about ReportingOn

Journalism.co.uk asked six questions about ReportingOn.

I answered them.

“4) Why are you doing this?

I saw a need to connect reporters to each other. So much local news lacks context, lacks a clear idea of where a local event fits into a larger trend, whether we’re talking about drunken driving or school funding or foreclosures.

Twitter has been a big inspiration, as well. I’ve been impressed at how casual, public conversation can be packed with information and benefit to anyone willing to ask questions and give answers freely.”

Plenty more about ReportingOn to come in the next few weeks and months.

For now, follow reportingon on Twitter and send your own Tweets @reportingon to make connections with your peers across town or on the other side of the world.

ReportingOn.com

Thanks to everyone who noticed the pillow-soft launch of ReportingOn.com in the only link in my Resolutions post, and especially to those of you who commented, e-mailed, tweeted, or blogged about the project.

At the moment, it’s just an URL, an idea, and a comment thread, but it’s building momentum, and that’s pleasant.

A few thoughts:

  1. I’m not doing this for any sort of financial gain, although I may get a grant or two to help pay the server bills, if there ever are any.
  2. I am hoping to use this as my Master’s Project to finish the graduate program I’m (still) enrolled in at San Jose State University.
  3. I’m no one’s competition. I’m doing this because I want to, because I think it’s necessary. If it’s successful, I’ll be happy; if no one ever uses it, I will have had a good hunk of practice at trying to do this sort of thing, and hopefully learned quite a bit in the process.

Initial feedback on the idea:

David Cohn:

“Ryan’s idea, as I understand it, is to take the new found obsession with instant conversation (and gratification) and aggregate these conversations in order to improve local reporting.”

Greg Linch:

“I’m a competitive being, as most journalists are, but the purpose of our profession is to inform. If you don’t want to be scooped, don’t give away the scoop. We must continue to adapt how we do our job to better inform readers and this site would be a great way to help do so.”

As the idea evolves, I’m thinking strongly that the Twitter tie-in and a Facebook application are the two places to start.

Dave Cohn is right: Herding a boatload of journalists – pro or amateur – over to a redundant social network feels forced. I’m not going to encourage reporters to seek out their sources in popular social networks in one breath, then ask them to join another network in the next.

Or maybe I will, I don’t know yet. Tell me, what would you want out of this?

My basic thought, the tagline for the site, service, app = The backchannel for your beat. I want this to be a place/way for reporters in far flung places to talk to each other – quickly and relatively publicly. A rising tide lifts all bylines. Seriously.

A wildcard: Poynter Groups?

I’m not sure the Poynter idea is exactly what I’m picturing — actually, I know it isn’t, but I still think it’s a good idea. Is Poynter the best possible place for a social network for journalists?

Many questions. Answer what you can. Thanks.

Howard Owens will give you $100 to get with the program

That’s right, if you’re an ink-stained, hard-nosed reporter who thinks all this New Media stuff is bunk, Boss Owens has a hundred Amazon bucks with your name on ’em.

If you perform a few small tasks, of course.

Like, start reading blogs, get a blog, start writing, shoot some stills and video, upload them, join a social network or two, and generally, just get with the program and give the new world a try.

Lots of details in Howard’s post.

Do the net-savvy thing and tell a friend who isn’t.