Fight or flight

As I sat typing away on my laptop this evening it occurred to me that it is where I seem to spend the majority of my time recently as I embark on my journey of journalistic wonder (which will hopefully end with a job offer).

Today a journalist without their laptop, mobile or some kind of new fangled technology has little hope of surviving. A depressing message which has been drilled into us throughout our course.

But perhaps not? Is there hope for technology shy journalists like myself?

Joanna Geary, Business Development Editor for Online at The Times, spoke to our online class last week and managed to somehow calm my fears that you need to be a technology whizz to be a journalist now-a-days. Check out her excellent blog which is linked on her name above.  She receives the highest praise from colleages and Roy Greenslade of The Guardian called her the most enterprising of newspaper bloggers.

Joanna started her own blog one day as a distraction from some dreaded DIY job she would have rather avoided. Her reluctance to take this step into the blogosphere reminded me of my apprehension in September when I was told I absolutely had to start one, it wasn’t optional.

Joanna’s story, her journalistic journey, was one of trail and error, rejection but perseverance to fulfil her dream… being Lois Lane and having superman as her boyfriend.

This photo is courtesy of http://bitl.in/lm2

On a serious note though, Joanna fought for her first job on the Birmingham Post and ended up from starting as a general business reporter in 2004 to becoming Media and Marketing Editor in 2007. Her experimentation with blogging wasn’t new for journalists but she was the first to try it at her paper and soon found herself in charge of her newspapers Twitter account and the brains behind the Birmingham Post’s blogs. What her editor thought would be a small collection of local blogs turned into something a lot bigger thanks to Joanna misunderstanding how many blogs her editor expected.

Joanna did not profess to be a technology whizz kid which was reassuring and comforting, she was an example of what you can achieve with some amateur experimentation. Her work gained the attention of many in the journalism industry with Jeff Jarvis expressing how impressed he was with her forward thinking on his blog.

Journalists need to fight to survive in this new environment in which we find ourselves. Technology isn’t something to be afraid of and we need to get on board with these developments or we will lose the battle. I am the first to admit that over the summer I would have laughed if someone told me in three months time I would be blogging regularly and be a Twitter fanatic. But now I have to say I enjoy it. I would never say I was a techno kid but taking simple small steps is how Joanna made her name in the online world.

She told us experimenting was the way forward and I agree with her. I’m experimenting at the moment, trying different things with blogs, trying to use Twitter to its full capacity and even trying some camera work (shock horror).

Journalists have to fight or else people will slowly stop seeing the point of our existence.

This photo is courtesy of http://bitl.in/fc2ri

This photo is courtesy of http://bitl.in/fc2ri

It’s time to move with the times. If we refuse to conform we will end up running for the hills and journalists are made of stronger stuff than that. We can adapt to the times but still keep those vital skills like accuracy from the older days or else what will distinguish us from the bloggers?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Fight or flight

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Fight or flight « The web we weave -- Topsy.com

  2. As I always say, once upon a time, the typewriter was “new technology”. :-)

  3. I totally agree with Adam!

    Perhaps think of it less as a battle and more as a quest which begins with the question: “who do I write for?”

    The more you try to understand the people you want to reach, the more you understand what platforms are best to reach them on and when.

    (Radio is a good place to reach me before 8am, my iPhone great before 10am, most of the rest of the day you’ll catch me on my computer).

    I find the idea that there are people out there I can reach in this way very exciting. I guess it was the same with the blog. The power of connecting to people is a big part of what it’s all about for me!

    Glad to hear you’re now enjoying the blog. Keep up the experimenting! :)

  4. Thanks for the feedback Joanna and Adam. I know one day I’ll be looking back at blogging the way we look at typewriters!
    I am really enjoying blogging now and I think both of your lectures were a big influence in that respect because they demonstrated the power blogging and other tools like Twitter have to help journalists reach a new audience.
    I shall keep experimenting with it all :)

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