news:rewired #1: George Brock intro, Kevin Marsh keynote

George Brock (@georgeprof), head of journalism at City, opened the news:rewired conference

  • “spaghetti throwers” theory (throw everything at the wall and see what sticks) – transition from paper to web won’t be easy so journalists need to be prepared to fail.
  • Today’s journalists are creating “chaos history”, shaking up the culture of business – absolutely necessary to discover the best ways of working digitally
  • history of news is only recently poised, organised, focused, studied, professional – chaos happens
  • journalists need to ask big questions – what defines a journalist? what value does a journalist add? is there such a thing as news?
  • journalistic education needs to train the next generation with these spaghetti-throwing skills

Kevin Marsh (@kjmarsh), former Today editor, now BBC College of Journalism, addressed how journalists should move into the digital world

– teachers and learners need to meet challenges of multimedia and social media environment – environment has changed

– big organisations like BBC putting web at centre of news offerings

  • BBC set up social media dept – “live and continuous” central not TV bulletins – was a big lurch for journalism, multimedia at the heart – “huge transformation of huge organisation”
  • realised quickly that the digital landscape was changing too quickly to map the organisation’s structure – roles emerging, changing – the formal way of recording organisation’s structure no longer applies
  • big news organisations are changing “organically” and dynamically
  • eg BBC “story communities” arise around a story, for as long as nec, pooling whoever has talent or is interested
  • big organisations “aren’t rabbits caught in the new media headlights”

 – new skills supplement traditional skills, don’t supplant them

  • 2 distinct & discreet sets of journalistic skills – finding & checking facts vs telling facts & engaging w/ audience
  • what Marsh meant about Andrew Gilligan “good piece of investigative journalism marred by flawed reporting”

– focus on your strong points, journalist can’t do every step of getting multimedia story to audience 

  • not poss for one journalist to do all the skills despite technology available to enable them
  • still need specialists w/ graphics, video, writing & social media skills, not all in the same person – ARGUMENT FOR KEEPING RESEARCH SPECIALISTS

Key points

  • vital to keep learning, developing, changing way do things – ongoing process
  • BUT not everything, don’t do things on a whim, cruise, surf, pick what takes your fancy
  • assess all the skills, be ruthless, must add value
  • big journalism isn’t over but need to fit new skills
  • need to focus on what apps DO, not just the apps themselves
  • skills not an end in itself, must do something useful with them
  • RIGHT is better than FIRST – must verify stories – f you need to tell the story asap combine it w/ verification (at heart of the BBC news offer) – “get it right then get it out”

2 thoughts on “news:rewired #1: George Brock intro, Kevin Marsh keynote

  1. Pingback: news:rewired conference, Jan 14 2010 « Librarian of tomorrow

  2. Pingback: news:rewired #5: how to make online pay « Librarian of tomorrow

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