Three threads tied together

I’ve been doing a bit of lightweight reporting and writing for a few other spots on the Web over the last two weeks, and the stories all pull together very nicely, like so:

First, over at the official Publish2 Blog, I posted a few notes on Evolving Platforms for Collaboration. You’ll find five examples there of collaborative (or transparent) projects fueled by emerging technology. Spot.Us, Mark Luckie’s book, Rex Sorgatz’s anti-agency, and more. Here’s why I thought Mark Luckie’s story of 10,000 Words was important:

Mark’s radical transparency about his career path — a form of collaboration with his readers and the online journalism community — has left a breadcrumb trail for talented journalists motivated to make work for themselves as bloggers, consultants, and authors. As more independent operators take off on their own, new models for collaboration across networks of freelancers and consultants are popping up left and right.

Second, I picked up that line of reasoning in an IM interview with Mark for the PBS IdeaLab blog. We talked about Mark’s career path, how he pulled together and published the book, and how he writes for an audience of novice online journalists.

I rarely ever feature software on the blog, not only because there is a lot of sketchy software out there that can do damage to your computer, but also because it’s hard to convince people to download, install, and try full-fledged programs. I love web-based applications because it’s an opportunity to try a new tool without investing too much time and effort into it. If you like it, you can keep using it and if not, you can just kinda move on. Also, if you really like a web-based tool you can always upgrade and grab professional software that offers more features.

Third, at Wired Journalists, I talked with Rex Sorgatz (you might know him best as Fimoculous) about building and running a networked and distributed development, design, strategy, and marketing anti-agency.

I despise digital/creative agencies! They’re slow, ineffectual little monsters. And they bill you like lawyers. But I like to create companies around the fringes of what I hate. So I came up with this twist on the idea: a very horizontal organization that consists of a loose collection of talented but disparate people (designers, developers, marketers, content specialists, product managers) to crowd-source projects. We borrow a trope from cloud computing: finding the resources for the task at hand. Some projects are huge and involve hiring dozens of people, whereas others are just me helping someone figure out a solution to a problem.

In all three of these posts, I’m thinking heavily about the mindset, skillset, and technology platforms that power collaboration — in the media world and elsewhere.

I hope you’re thinking about that, too.

Publish2 acquires Wired Journalists

In January 2008, Howard Owens, Zac Echola, and I launched a social network with self-motivated, eager-to-learn reporters, editors, executives, students and faculty in mind.

Wired Journalists was born with the mission of connecting the knowledgeable, expert innovators in online news with journalists of all stripes hoping to learn something new about their evolving craft.

Today we’re proud to announce that Publish2 has acquired Wired Journalists.

At Publish2, the mission of connecting journalists based on common goals and interests will continue and — we hope — grow exponentially as the Wired Journalists network becomes a space for collaboration on real-world reporting as well as conversations about craft.

Publish2 builds online tools for news organizations looking to bring the best of the Web to their readers — and to each other.  Those of you who know me personally are likely aware that I joined Publish2 earlier this year as Director of News Innovation.  In one of my early conversations with Publish2 CEO Scott Karp, we started sketching out what Wired Journalists might look like if it had the funding, attention, and staff that we’d always wanted.

Out of those conversations came a rock-solid proposal to give Wired Journalists a new home under the Publish2 banner, where I could personally devote time to it as a part of my role at Publish2.


Wired Journalists has been a labor of love — and love only — for Howard, Zac, and I, with some help from Pat Thornton of BeatBlogging more recently, but we always saw the potential of the 3,000-plus-strong membership, if only we had the time to manage the community and help to make a few connections and guide a few conversations.

With Publish2, we’re going to get that opportunity, and a lot more.  I’m looking forward to jumping into conversations on Wired Journalists as part of my day job, and I’m psyched to get Greg Linch involved as soon as he hits the ground at Publish2.

In short, it’s been great, and it’s going to be excellent.

A personal thank you to everyone who showed up in early 2008 when Howard, Zac, and I told you about the vision for Wired Journalists, and thank you to those of you that I’ve learned more about over the last year and a half through the network.


Here are a few key links from the beginning of Wired Journalists:

2008 objectives for today’s non-wired journalist | December 27, 2007
At the end of 2007, when I had been working for Howard Owens for about three months, he posted this checklist of goals for journalists new to online tools and media platforms. It sparked enough interest, and inquiries from journalists within GateHouse and other organizations, including Forum Communications, where Zac Echola fielded requests from reporters asking how they could get involved. So this is the blog post that started Wired Journalists.

Introducing, a place people looking for new knowledge to get help | January 22, 2008
Here’s the January 2008 announcement post from Howard Owens, calling Wired Journalists a place “…for journalists just starting down the path of transforming their careers and doing the hard work of saving journalism…”

Zac Echola’s original message about Wired Journalists | January 22, 2008
This page has been standing on Zac’s blog since the launch of Wired Journalists in January 2008. It starts off with a call to action: “Now is the time to be that catalyst for change in your news organization. No more talking about it. We’re doing it. And we want you to do it too.”

Invisible Inkling | January 22, 2008
Here’s my first post introducing Wired Journalists in January 2008: “So please, come join this new community, but more than that, pass the link along to the guy in the next cubicle who doesn’t read blogs. Pass it along to the photographer who hasn’t built a slideshow. Pass it along to your editors, your teachers, and your students.”