I’m so bad with updating this blog that, by now, all of you have probably checked out the following link. it’s been sitting on my bookmark list for ages but only today I had some spare time to pay this space a visit. it’s called stuff journalists like and… hmm, yeah, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Archive for the journalism category
wired magazine is awesome, I’m sure I’m not breaking any news here. But of all the cool features and blogs that the mag includes, one of them has been catching my attention - storyboard.
Storyboard is the story of a story or, as they call it, a profile of a profile.
It all started here and the experiment has been updated with fresh content on an almost daily basis.
Wired is putting itself out there and revealing the whole process of one of their features, using a profile of Charlie Kaufman as the subject.
(see? It’s all so deliciously meta - even the subject of the subject is interesting! And have you noticed how this is a blog post about a series of blog posts? Fantastic!)
So, anyway, just wanted to give the suggestion to those who were distracted enough to have missed it.
Back to my own stories now.
this post was originally posted on Tomorrow’s News Tomorrow’s Journalists and it was my first contribution to the project.
The young generations grew up in a world where media is totally different to what it was for our parents and the generations before them. Like any social change, it takes some time to adjust to a new reality and there is always a culture and generational clash. It’s going to take some years (decades, I’d say) until everything is going full-speed.
Computers, cell phones, internet… they’ve all been present for the vast majority of my twenty-something years. I grew up with them and, in doing so, adapting myself to their presence was a natural and unconscious process. Not so for our parents.
Many older journalists seem to be refusing to adjust to this shift in the cultural paradigm. It’s not our job to tell them they’re wrong - they’ll figure it out by themselves. In many cases, they adjust ever so slightly, by using the web as an archive for material published in the past. The web is still the print’s poor cousin for these journalists and they can’t quite see its potential.
We just happened to be doing what we do in this time. We’re experiencing journalism and communication in a time when journalism and communication are going through major changes. We’re a part of that change and we’re able to embrace it. Others aren’t and probably won’t. Perhaps this is a bit too pessimistic but it’s possible that things will only get better once our generation becomes the old generation that fills up the big chairs in the newsrooms.
The biggest challenge is not the lack of employment – there are always stories to be told and people that want to know them so being pro-active will always take you somewhere. The biggest challenge is not the fact that most school curricula do not prepare us for the job but only leave us with a brain full of theories, that would only be good for a conversation in a bar and not much else. Theory is something good to have when you need to look smart but the job will really only be learnt once they hand you a notebook or a dictaphone and send you out of the newsroom.
None of those challenges or fears come close to the problem we’re facing for being the generation at work during the shift. Sure they’re right when they say they had their challenges and changes to face. However, moving from the man on the bike dropping the newspaper at your doorstep to the RSS feed reader or the email newsletter is one of the biggest changes the world has ever faced. Living and working in a time where both co-exist is perhaps one of the hardest jobs to have and the young journalists’ biggest challenge.
a few days ago i published a post with 5 reasons why i love my job. there’s a bunch of stuff i don’t love about my job (and i write “don’t love” to stop myself from writing “hate”). the first one i can think of is writing titles. i hate it i hate it i hate it. i never know what to write and sometimes the shortest title takes me longer to write than the longest article.
it might look like a minor issue but it’s not, really. titles are a very important part of a story and writing stories is one of the most important parts of a journalist’s job. when the busy reader is going through the pages of a magazine or newspaper or jumping from news website to news website reading headlines, the title is the decisive factor between reading or not reading the story.
when i was studying to become a journalist (or sort of), a journalist that i highly respect taught me that a good title should be informative, kind of like a sum up of what the article is about, something simple and direct. supposing that the reader didn’t have time to read the whole story, the title should be enough to let him know what’s been talked about. looking at it this way, it’s kind of like the title is the tool for the lazy reader.
so i’m confused: to we want readers to read our stories or not? should the title reveal the essential like that journalist told me or should it just attract the readers’ attention and make them want to know more about what’s being talked about? if that’s the case, maybe “informative” isn’t the best adjective to define a good title. creative or appealing, perhaps. and maybe it doesn’t have to tell much about what happened, forcing the reader to at least pay attention to the first couple of paragraphs of the story.
well, all this rant is to justify the fact that i suck at choosing titles. that’s it.
I’ve already registered and I’m really looking forward to writing my first post. The topic for this month is “The biggest challenge facing a young journalist in today’s media is…” excellent topic to start off with. There are heaps of things that can be said and reflected on so the hard thing will be narrow it down to a decent size text. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!
So anyway, TNTJ is open to anyone’s participation so long as:
- you’re under 30 years old
- you blog about journalist
- you promote the ring
so keep checking TNTJ for updates and listen to what young journos have to say.
You can choose how you’re going to read this article, whether it’s as just me trying to tell you about the wonders of being a journalist or as me talking to myself and trying to convince myself of those wonders, to help me go through harder times (which also happens sometimes).
I became a journalist by choice, as I’m sure the vast majority did. Being a journalist is so hard that you really have to choose it and have a passion for it in order to survive it. When I say it’s hard, I’m not just saying that the work in itself is hard to do (although, yes it is). It’s, above all, hard to get into the profession and start a career. You really have to want to do it, otherwise it’s really easy to just give up and go knock on different doors.
Anyway, here’s a brief list of five reasons to love this job.
#1 unlike other jobs, I learn new things every day. Some of them are boring but others are really interesting. My job gives me a good deal of stuff to think about. I’m sure this happens to all journalists, whether they write about general stuff or specialise in one subject matter. If you’re a journalist, you’re forced to learn about new things every day, stay up to date with what’s happening around you. It’s hard work but there’s no better way of living.
#2 it gives me the opportunity to interact with different people all the time. I don’t need to tell you how cool that is, right? I really do feel this makes me a richer person.
#3 you feel your work is actually worth it because you often get feedback, whether it’s by someone commenting on the article with you or just by seeing someone holding the publication you work for or reading it online.
#4 I write. Plain and simple. There’s nothing I love more. Of course there’s more to it than that and there’s never a boring day in this job. But writing is definitely my favourite part of it.
#5 the fact that, no matter how many times I say I hate my job (and i do say it a lot sometimes, especially during stressful periods) and even wonder whether I’d prefer an easier life, I am deeply in love with my career. Not many people get to feel this way so this is something i feel really lucky for.
It’s the old story of the glass half full or half empty – you can look at the same thing from different perspectives and choose to either have a positive or negative opinion about it.
When the first photographs appeared, the end of oil portraits was announced. Later came the TV and people starting digging radio’s grave. When the first CD was out, there was talk of bidding farewell to vinyl.
Some of these deaths were confirmed (who still remembers what a VHS is?) but others weren’t. The question that a lot of people are asking but that none can yet answer is: Is internet going to kill printed news?
But if you think it will, how come the newspapers survived the invention of radio and television? It’s true that paid newspapers are selling less but there’s still the phenomenon of free newspapers. Why not blame those instead?
What newspapers need to do is stop thinking about the internet as the enemy and embrace it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other and it’s not hard to have the same team of journalists writing for the newspaper and publishing that same content online. The Web is the key to their survival – I can’t stress it enough. Instead of trying to fight the enemy, you need to get in bed with it. Producing online content is the only way to keep selling newspapers.
I still read newspapers and, like me, millions still do. I think I probably always will. There was never a time in my life when I only bought the newspaper because I felt the need to be informed. No. Television has been around for a lot longer than I have. Watching the news on TV never stopped me from buying the newspaper. Reading the news online doesn’t stop me from buying it either.
Maybe I don’t *need* to buy it anymore. But need was only one of the several reasons for me to ever do it.
Unless they’re really short-sighted, everyone in newspapers knows what might kill them and what needs to be done to prevent that death. If they choose not to do it, then that will be suicide. I don’t think they want to shoot themselves (it is a business, after all). I might be wrong but, in my age and in my position, it’s a lot better to choose to think things are not so bad.
during the time i worked for the newspaper in portugal, several people looked for me wanting to share stories, find out more about a story i’d written, say thank you or even complain (small privileges of those who work in ‘community-level news’).
whenever that happened, i always tried to take the opportunity to find out what those people thought about the newspaper, what could be improved and what being done wrong. it always surprised me that, for many of them, the favourite pages were the ones that the journalist had little or no effect on – ‘letters to the editor’ or columns written by other people, for example.
a lot of times, that investigation that had taken several hours to complete and another few hours to put into words was put aside because of the hole on the road next to mr smith’s house. because, for mr smith, that hole was a lot more important than any major investigation. it affected his life in a direct way.
none of this is surprising or new. proximity has always been one of the fundamental criteria in journalism. And I say proximity in many different levels and not just a geographic proximity. For example, whenever something newsworthy happens in timor, you can be sure you’re going to see it on the news in Portugal. In this case, the geographic distance is secondary because the emotional bonds between the two countries are stronger (and, therefore, come higher up in the hierarchy).
in a way, this is also related to the criteria that lead people to, more and more, choose the internet over other media to stay informed. instead of the passive act of consuming whatever is put in front of them, they select, choose, search and comment. the key for the success of the whole chain is the engagement of the reader/viewer/listener and that’s why web2.0 is so successful. people want to be part of the process and they want to feel like they contribute to it rather than just acting as a passive receiver. even if it’s just to say ‘I agree’ or ‘I disagree’, a lot of times without adding anything else, they just want to feel included.
this is also strongly related to the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ (with websites like cnn’s ireport proving its power) but that’s a subject for a totally different post.
the fact of the matter is that in journalism, like in politics, citizens’ participation is fundamental to prevent the structure from collapsing - whether it guarantees a more democratic society, that’s open to discussion.