Real life tips for changing newsrooms

Here’s my contribution to this weekend’s Carnival of Journalism, on the theme of practical tips for changing newsrooms for a new media age:

1. Set up your systems so that journalists get emails when someone comments on their stories. Nothing kills a conversation like someone who doesn’t listen.

2. Make an effort to meet social media users in your community/beat in person at least once a month (it helps if you set up a meeting or join one that exists). Failing that, have a video conversation. Both strengthen community more than just text. Jo Geary does this brilliantly in Birmingham.

3. Make 30 minutes every week to think about how you do your job, identify problems or frustrations, and blog about it, inviting suggestions on how you can do it better, or asking if others can help.

4. Try a new toy every fortnight – online services like Seesmic, Twitter, blogging, Ning, social bookmarking, Dipity, Yahoo Pipes, Shozu; hardware like the Zoom H2, Flip camcorder, and N95. IF you don’t have any ideas check out TechCrunch.

5. Regularly distribute information internally to all reporters and editors about what is happening on the website – popular stories, most commented on, bookmarked, old stories getting new interest, most visited on mobile, what times most accessed, where traffic is coming from, what search terms are most popular, what stories are getting a ‘long tail’ of small but consistent traffic.

6.If the online side of things seems like ‘extra work’ find out ways to make it less onerous and more automatic – explore Firefox extensions, bookmarking buttons, shortcuts; using ‘downtime’ to update via text or mobile web; and how to syndicate an RSS feed from one place to another (e.g. Twitter’s feed or Delicious feed to your blog).

7. If you are lucky enough to spend most of your time away from a desk and computer, work to keep it that way. A good mobile phone and Shozu may come in useful.

I’d welcome your ideas and reactions.

(Posted from my mobile, so apologies for no links)


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