Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SPJ Convention all a-Twitter with new media and online journalism learning

 Random notes from the SPJ National Convention which ending Sunday …
Some SPJ members may see the organization as still being for a bunch of old newspaper dudes. You may think curmudgeons rule, but you couldn’t tell that by attending the workshops and sessions in Atlanta.
“People are getting new media here and loving it,” Molly McDonough said. “I don’t get that back in my newsroom.”
I would agree.
SPJ has kept its high-tech ambitions a secret to some, however.  That’s evident this week, after SPJ’s Convention struggled with lower attendance, but the Online News Association, meeting this week in Washington D.C. sold out in advance.
Nevertheless, I didn’t talk to one person who came to Atlanta already a devotee of online and new media who didn’t rave about the conference and promise to return next year.
A few of the highlights:
Sree Sreenivasan on “Figuring Out Blogs & Whatever’s Next” – Every journalist should have a blog and know how to use it. Post often. And keep it short.
  • “If you can’t sell it in six words, you can’t do it in 6,000,” he said.
Sreenivasan had a handout of links, but its also online.
Howard Owens on Reinventing Journalism, included his 10 Things Journalists Can Do:
Among them:
  • Include informed insight and personal voice.
  • Stop competing for scoops and awards
  • Cover people not processes
  • Be kinder.
  • Be smarter.
  • Emphasize accuracy, honesty, and transparency.
  • Be the guide. Be the filter. There is a fire hose of information. Help your readers find it.
Molly and I got a great reaction on our "60 web sites in 60 minutes".
  • It included a showing of Facebook with this live update: “Molly is thinking Ron should pick it up a bit or we won't get to 50.”
People picked up Twitter for the first time and kept people updated on the convention
Want to find out what you missed? Or maybe you were there and want to pick up some sessions you missed. 
You can from two of my new friends:
Rene Gutel wrote some great blog posts about the sessions she attended.
So did Jeff Cutler
And as always, you can read the reports from the talented students covering the convention onThe Working Press.
Don’t expect SPJ to retain its curmudgeonly image forever.  We’ve put together a Digital Media Committee, which I’m co-chairing. You’ll see other of our members posting here in the future.
After all, nearing its 100th birthday, SPJ is the original social network for journalism.

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